Probate Court


Los Alamos County Probate Court

Probate is the judicial process for transferring the property of a person who has died (called decedent). The property is transferred according to either: (1) the decedent's Will, or (2) if the decedent dies without a Will, 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(PDF, 357KB)  pass the deceased person's estate property, real and personal, to the rightful recipients. Rightful recipients might include heirs, devisees named in a valid and current will, or creditors.

Probate Court has jurisdiction over an informal probate if:

  • The decedent was domiciled in Los Alamos County at the time of death (i.e. Los Alamos County was the permanent place of residency), or 

  • The decedent lived outside New Mexico but owned property in Los Alamos County.

State law authorizes the Probate Courts to:

  • Admit wills to informal probate.
  • Appoint Personal Representatives informally (without a hearing), when there is no will.
  • Appoint Special Administrators.

Issue Certificates of Full Administration of the Estate.

Formal probates, determinations of heirship, contested cases, and trust matters cannot be heard by the Probate Court, but instead must be filed in the District Court.

In addition to adjudicating informal probate cases, the Los Alamos Probate Court provides general information on the probate process and access to public records that have been filed with the Court.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is probate needed?

Not all estates require a probate or appointment of a Personal Representative. Much depends on how the decedent's property was titled. But when an informal 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.

How do I open a Probate case?

Estate papers (called pleadings), the original Will, if any, and proper payment are presented together to the Court for review and appointment of the Personal Representative and/or probate of the Will. The initial Application must be signed by the applicant in the presence of a notary public and should include an original death certificate. Applicants must submit complete, accurate and truthful pleadings to the Court.

If, for any reason, the Court does not accept the filing, all payments and pleadings are returned to the applicant. Once the Court opens the probate case, no refunds are possible.

After the Judge signs the Order appointing the Personal Representative, the Court issues Letters Testamentary (cases where the decedent left a valid Will) or Letters of Administration (in cases where the decedent did not leave a valid Will). These Letters give the Personal Representative legal authority to conduct the decedent's estate business.

Examples of actions that are the responsibility of the Personal Representative include:

Paying creditors.

Legally changing the title to real property owned by the decedent into the name of the new owner(s).

Legally changing the title to personal property owned by the decedent into the name of the new owner(s).

Distributing assets to heirs or devisees.

Filing decedent's income taxes and estate taxes, if necessary.


What is the cost of filing a case?

The docket fee to file for informal probate in the Probate Court is $30.00. Certification of filed documents is $.50 per document. To have files copied by the Court, the fee is $0.10 per copy per page.

Fees must accompany recording. Your original documents will not be returned. Please notify our office if copies of the recorded documents will be needed. If you require recorded copies, please provide a self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of your copies.

What is the filing deadline?

Normally, a probate must be filed within three years following the decedent's death. New Mexico law says 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, 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.

How do I access Probate records?

To view probate record index information, please visit the Online Records Website.

Index search is available for the following dates:
February 1953

To ensure the security and privacy of our citizens, images are NOT available online.

To request copies, please contact the County Clerk office:

Phone: (505) 662-8010


Mail: 1000 Central Avenue, Suite 240, Los Alamos, NM 87544
In Person: Suite 240, on the 2nd Floor of the Municipal Building

Copy Fees:
$0.10 per page
$0.50 per certification




Did you know that our judges can officiate your ceremony? To learn more, visit the County Clerk's site.


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Despite our good faith efforts to be accurate, this page and our data may contain inadvertent errors. Please email us immediately if you notice an error. Also, please remember that website information is not a substitute for researching the law or for the advice of a competent attorney.