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Abby is an education attorney from ABQ. She is proud to be Queer and to be autistic. Her obsessions include puzzles and her two rescue pups; Penny Lane and Noodle.

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I’ve been seeing a lot about wills during the pandemic. All I have is a house with a mortgage and a 10-year-old truck. Do I really need a will?

Yes! A Last Will and Testament is important, no matter if you make $20,000 or $200,000 a year. Why? A will is a way you can provide for your kids and pass on things of value that you own.

A will is a must if you have legal responsibility for any minor children, because it is in a will where you can protect them by providing a legal guardian for them should you pass away while they are still under the age of 18.

Don’t have kids? What about furbabies? Thousands of pets end up homeless or in shelters every year because their humans did not make plans for them. In your will you can select a pet agent who will assume care of and responsibility for your four-legged friends should you pass away.

Think you don’t have anything of value to pass on? What about your mom’s Purple Heart or your grandfather’s top-secret red chile recipe? Value is sentimental not just monetary.

Other documents that protect you are an Advance Medical Directive and a Power of Attorney for Healthcare. One or both of these documents serve as your voice and/or allow you to appoint someone to be your voice to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to make them for yourself.

Also helpful is a Durable Power of Attorney, commonly called a POA. With a POA you choose who will be responsible for managing your finances if you are unable to do so for yourself. For example, a POA empowers someone of your choice to access your bank account to pay your mortgage for you if you are unable to do so yourself, thereby protecting your house from foreclosure.

I have been making some face masks for my friends at home and I want to start selling them. What is the easiest way to start a business to do that?

The easiest way to start a business is to start a Sole Proprietorship. In order establish a Sole Proprietorship you need to get:

  • A City Business License (yup, even for a home-based business where your clients do not come to your home)
  • A Combined Reporting System (CRS) Number from New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department to pay your Gross Receipts Tax. You can sign up for this and pay these taxes all online.
  • Also, it is always a good idea to explore any insurance that may be applicable to your business.

You may also benefit from consulting a lawyer and/or tax professional. For some free resources check out WESST Enterprise Center at https://www.wesst.org/. WESST offers free resources for small business development and training throughout New Mexico.

If you have a legal question, contact me at abby@abq.news and your question may be chosen for a future column.

This column does not create an attorney client-relationship and should not be taken as legal or financial advice. While Abby Lewis is an owner of The Paper., the views and opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily those of The Paper.

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