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When Should You Learn About Estate Planning? Now!

You have a long term partner, maybe a kiddo or two. You’re likely at that point where the savings account is reaching new heights and work signed you up for something called...a 401K? Whether you’re reaching new financial heights, you purchased real estate, or started a business, you may want to plan for what happens later down the line.

The increases in quality of life should lead you to a burning question: who gets all your hard earned work if life stopped tomorrow? Are you deciding your affairs or are you leaving it to the court? As morbid as estate planning may seem, it is smart to start planning your end-of-life affairs while you’re still healthy and capable.

Estate planning is an often overlooked area, especially for those who are just now coming into financial wealth.

Below are some terms you should familiarize yourself with when you are ready to speak with an attorney about your estate planning needs. Sunshine Legal can assist you in determining your best estate options and execute them with care.

A-B Trust

A trust that includes a tax-planning provision that lets you provide for your surviving spouse and keep control over who will receive your assets after your spouse dies. It also lets both spouses use their federal estate tax exemptions. This can save a substantial amount in estate taxes and leave more money for your beneficiaries. For example, in 2012, when the federal estate tax exemption is $5 million, an A-B trust would let a married couple transfer up to $10 million to their beneficiaries estate tax- free, saving up to $1,750,000 in estate taxes.


The court-supervised distribution of an estate during probate. Also used to describe the same process for a trust after the grantor dies.


Person named by the court to represent a probate estate when there is no will or the will did not name an executor. Also known as personal representative.


Basically, anything you own including your home and other real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, investments, furniture, jewelry, art, clothing, heirlooms, and collectibles.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

A legal document that lets you give someone else the authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. Also called a health care proxy or medical power of attorney.


The current market value of an asset less any loan or liability.


Assets and debts left by an individual at death.


Person or institution named in a will to carry out its instructions. Also called a personal representative.

Living Trust

A written legal document that creates an entity to which you transfer ownership of your assets. Contains your instructions for managing your assets during your lifetime and for their distribution upon your incapacity or death. Avoids probate at death and court control of assets at incapacity. Also called a revocable inter vivos trust. A trust created during one’s lifetime.

Living Will

A written document that states you do not wish to be kept alive by artificial means when the illness or injury is terminal.

Power of Attorney

A legal document giving someone legal authority to sign your name on your behalf in your absence. A POA may end at incapacity or death unless otherwise designated.


The legal process of validating a will, paying debts, and distributing assets after death.

Spendthrift Clause

Protects assets in a trust from a beneficiary’s creditors.


A written document with instructions for disposing of assets after death. A will can only be enforced through the probate court.


This blog discusses only general information about family, elder, estate planning, or probate law in New Mexico and is not legal advice. No information derived from can create an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship exists unless there is a signed writing by the client and Sunshine Legal or representative.

Sunshine Legal LLC

3321 Candelaria Rd NE Albuquerque, NM 87107

PO Box 52013 Albuquerque, NM 87181

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Proudly assisting New Mexicans in FamilyElder, and Estate Law.


3321 Candelaria Rd NE

Albuquerque, NM 87107 

(P) 505-750-3685

(F) 505-672-7774


PO Box 52013 

Albuquerque, NM 87181 

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