We provide personal representative service only for primary or ancillary estates to be opened in the northern half of the State of New Mexico, including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos and Farmington.
When an individual dies, certain non-probate assets of the decedent may be transferred by trust or contract. Examples of the latter include joint and survivorship property, "payable on death" accounts, "transfer on death" property, and most life insurance and retirement benefits. Assets that are not classified as non-probate assets remain in the decedent's estate and are called probate assets. Probate assets are transferred through proceedings in the Probate Court having jurisdiction or pursuant to applicable unsupervised administration statutes. Most persons die owning both probate and non-probate assets, all of which generally require some type of documentation to complete the transfer to heirs. Probate Courts have the responsibility of ensuring that any probate assets are collected, maintained, and distributed among the decedent's heirs, beneficiaries, and/or creditors according to the direction of the decedent as expressed through a will and the applicable state law. This process is known as the administration of a decedent's estate.
After an individual's death, an estate may be opened by any interested person filing an application to administer the estate. The application is filed in the county of the State in which the decedent resided. The Probate Court will appoint an estate representative, called a fiduciary, and issue the appropriate letters of authority. The fiduciary is appointed by the Court according to the decedent's will or statutory guidelines. If nominated by will, the fiduciary (or "personal representative") is typically called an Executor. If there is no will, the fiduciary is typically called an Administrator. It is the responsibility of the fiduciary to administer the decedent's estate and to account to the Court for that administration. A bond may be required of the fiduciary to protect the beneficiaries and creditors of the estate and to insure proper administration.
We may serve either as an Executor if so designated in the decedent's will, or as an Administrator, if so appointed by the Probate Court in intestacy situations. Due to the complexities in this type of administration, we reserve the right to decline to serve with or without cause. We will attempt to accept each appointment within the geographical limitations set forth above. Some situations in which we may decline include the existence of problematic trust assets such as contaminated real estate. We reserve the right to decline to serve, with or without cause, as the Executor or Administrator of an estate or an estate that will not result in the creation of any on-going trusts, the trustee of which would be Santa Fe Trust.
If our administrative services are being recommended to a client there is generally no charge for our preliminary document review services.
We charge a minimum fee for initial account set up and an asset-based fee for the type of trust to be administrated. With estate administration services, an hourly rate is assessed for performing estate settlement related work and actions beyond standard living trust administrative services. After the decedent's estate is settled, SFT's charges revert to our standard asset-based fees for the type of trust to be administered thereafter. We also charge a fee for tax return preparation and extraordinary services.
Contact Us for a personalized quote.