DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO OPEN A PROBATE
- Original and valid will (including codicils)
- Death certificate (certified copy or original) – returned upon review
- Marriage certificate
- $30 docket filing fee, payable to Sandoval County Probate Court
Estate papers (called pleadings), the original Will, certified or original Death Certificate, if any, and proper payment are presented together to the Court for review and appointment of the personal representative. Applicants must submit complete, accurate, and truthful pleadings to the Court.
Once the Court opens the probate case, no refunds are possible, but a receipt is given to the filing party.
Each pleading is presented in order with exact copies clipped behind the original. The Court keeps the original and returns endorsed copies to the filing party.
Once the Judge signs the Order appointing the Personal Representative, the Court issues Letters Testamentary (in cases where the decedent left a valid will) or Letters of Administration (in cases where the decedent did not leave a valid will). These Letters give the Personal Representative legal authority to conduct the decedent’s estate business.
Examples of matters to arise in a probate case include, but are not limited to:
- Legally changing title to real property owned by the decedent to name of new owner(s)
- Legally changing title to personal property, such as bank accounts, stocks , bonds, etc.
- Paying creditors
- Filing decedent’s income taxes and estate taxes, if necessary
Probate Court cases can be filed with or without the help of an attorney. Do-it-yourself forms are available. These forms are avaialbe at no charge to you by downloading from the Supreme Court’s web site: www.nmcourts.gov or you may purchase a probate packet from our office for $5.00. Sometimes after reviewing the packet of paperwork involved and the responsibilities of serving as personal representative of an estate, people will hire an attorney. Knowing when to obtain competent legal services when needed is essential. The Court can provide information, but not legal services.
For additional information, see New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) 1978, Chapter 45, Pamphlet 67 (Uniform Probate Code).