To make probate matters understandable to citizens who can file informal probate proceedings that fully meet legal requirements. To conduct marriage ceremonies with convenience, dignity, and in a manner fully pleasing to those involved.

Office Hours:
Monday 9AM to 4PM
Wednesday 9AM to 2PM
or by Appointment


Probate Court is responsible for the management of informal probate proceedings. It conducts marriage ceremonies of those holding a NM marriage license. It aids heirs in timely resolution of issues regarding real and personal property of deceased persons and alleviates the need for attorneys in matters easily completed by ordinary citizens. If complications or contentions arise, attorneys are suggested.

Purpose of the Court

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 or (2) if the decedent died without a Will, according to New Mexico’s laws of intestate succession.  The Probate Court appoints a legally qualified person, called a Personal Representative, to manage and settle the decedent’s business affairs.  Personal Representative distributes the deceased person’s estate property, real and personal, to the rightful recipients. Rightful recipients might include heirs, devises named in a valid and current Will, or creditors. State laws also allow Probate Judges to perform marriages within their county only. 

When is a Probate Required?

Not all estates require a probate or a Personal Representative. Much depends on how the decedent’s property was titled. But when a probate is necessary, the person seeking appointment as Personal Representative applies to the Probate Court (or the District Court) to obtain authority to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate.

Time Requirements

Normally, a probate must be filed within three years following the decedent’s death, New Mexico law says that no probate may be filed during the first 120 hours (5 days) following the death. Once a probate case is filed, it should be kept open until all creditors receive notice and make claims, taxes are paid and estate assets are distributed.  Once the probate is closed, the Personal Representative no longer has authority to act for the estate. 


The recording fee to file for an informal probate in the Probate Court is $30.00. Certification of filed documents  is $1.00 per document. To have files copied by the Court cost $.25 per page.  The Court accepts cash, checks, money order or cashier’s checks.


Probate Court cases can be filed with or without the help of an attorney. A packet with do-it-yourself forms is available for $5.00 from the Probate Court. Sometimes after reviewing the packet of paperwork involved and the responsibilities of serving as a Personal Representative of an estate, people will hire an attorney.  Knowing when to obtain competent legal services is essential. The Probate Judge can provide information, but not legal services. 

Forms can also be downloaded for free from the Supreme Court Law Library at

What You Should Know

Remember that at least 120 hours and no more than three years must have elapsed since the decedent’s passing, unless probate is required to pass title to real property.
Publication of the proceedings is not required, but is suggested to protect all parties involved.