Probate Judge

Purpose of the Probate Court - What We Do

Probate is the judicial process for transferring the property of a person who has died (called a decedent). The property is transferred according to either 1 the decedent's Will, (Testate) or 2 if the decedent died without a Will, (Intestate), according to New Mexico's laws of intestate succession. The probate court appoints legally qualified persons, called personal representatives, to manage and settle the decedent's business affairs. Personal representatives pass the deceased person's estate property; real and personal, to the rightful recipients. Rightful recipients could include heirs, devisees named in a valid and current will, or creditors

Jurisdiction of the Probate Court - How We Serve You

State law limits the Probate Courts to

  • Admitting original Wills to informal probate
  • Appointing personal representatives informally (without a hearing)
  • Appointing Special Administrators for estates
  • Performing marriages within their county.

Visit the Grant County Probate Court if

  • Decedent resided in Grant County at the time of death (i.e. Grant County was the permanent place of decedent's abode/residence), or
  • Decedent resided outside of New Mexico but owned property in Grant County
  • In addition to handling informal probate cases, the Probate Court provides general information on the probate process

Probate Courts cannot help with

  • Formal probates, determinations of heirship, contested cases, dispute over the validity of a will, removal of a personal representative
  • Trust matters cannot be heard by the Probate Court; these must be filed in District Court

When to File a Probate

Not all estates require a probate or a personal representative. Filing a probate depends on how the decedent's property was titled at the time of death. When a probate is necessary, the person seeking appointment as Personal Representative applies to the Probate Court (or District Court) to obtain authority to act on behalf of the decedent's estate.

Probate Timeline

New Mexico State Law does not allow a probate to be filed during the first 120 hours (5 days) following the death. Normally, a probate must be filed within three years following the decedent's death.

Fees

The docket fee to file for informal probate in the Probate Court is $30. The fee to record a death certificate is $25. The fee to obtain certified copies of any document is $2. The fees are paid to the Grant County Clerk with cash, checks, money orders, or cashier checks only. Checks are made payable to the Grant County Clerk.

Wedding Ceremonies

The Grant County Probate Judge is pleased to offer wedding officiating free of charge to the public of Grant County. Please contact the Probate Judge with advance notice, if possible, to officiate the wedding ceremony.

What the Probate Judge & Staff Cannot Do

Neither the Probate Judge nor their staff can provide legal advice of any kind. Legal advice can only be given by a licensed attorney. The Judge or their staff cannot fill out the forms for you or assist you in filling out the forms; that includes preparation of deeds for any real property that requires transfer. Neither the Probate Judge nor their staff can recommend an attorney to you.

Forms

To obtain the forms necessary to file a probate with the Grant County Probate Court, you may purchase a Probate packet (Intestate/Without a will) at the Grant County Clerk's Office for $5 - or you may download forms.

Self-Help Guide

Download the New Mexico District Court Self Help Guide Probate (PDF)