New Mexico has a unique single location Probate Court in Bernalillo County. It is an old court dating back to the 1880s. They process about 600 probate cases per year. Their mission statement says: “Probate is dedicated to helping people face a sometimes difficult and painful situation--settling the estates of their deceased loved ones.”
The types of cases handled in Probate Court are estates, wills, trusts, conservatorships, and all uncontested probate issues. They only charge $30 for court services. Some of the work Probate Court does is “helps with research requests, sells probate forms packets, makes certified copies, conducts wedding ceremonies, and participates in free legal fairs for low-income families.” Their website lists the services they provide as:
- “Probating the estates of deceased persons.
- Probating wills, if any.
- Appointing special administrators.
- Providing information about estates through the court and the online “case lookup” service.
- Conducting weddings.”
They have only one courthouse location in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the Bernalillo County Government Center at One Civic Plaza. This court does not hold trials, and they do not serve any civil or criminal cases, only probate matters. This simplified model allows them to specialize in this area of interest and execute efficient resolution for these types of cases.
There is only one judge who presides over Probate Court, and that is Cristy J. Carbόn-Gaul who was sworn in on January 1, 2019. This court sees a 10% increase in cases every year and has over 8,000 contacts with the general public.
The Bernalillo County Probate Courts website has all the forms someone needs to fill out before going to court. It has a case lookup feature along with contact information for court contacts, information on the probate process and helpful community links to an outreach program, current news, and the court’s history. The judge’s biography is also listed online. Forms can be filed through the mail or in person at the courthouse.
All other probate cases are resolved in District Court locations.