Do You Need to Prepare a Will?

If someone passes away in Nevada and leaves behind assets that are not in a living trust, those assets are distributed through the probate process. If a probate dispute emerges, or if you are the executor of a will and you need probate assistance, call a Las Vegas probate attorney at once.

Probate courts oversee the payment of a decedent’s debts and the distribution of his or her assets. Probate courts also protect the interests of a decedent’s creditors and beneficiaries. If there was a will, the will’s executor must submit a formal request to the probate court to begin the process.

If you are an adult in this state, establishing a will or a trust with the help of a Las Vegas probate lawyer is essential. If you have not yet created a will or a trust, a Nevada probate court could conceivably transfer your assets and properties to the wrong party or parties.

Probate is exceedingly complicated. In Nevada, a will’s executor should have the advice and guidance of a Las Vegas probate lawyer from the beginning. If there’s no will, a probate court will assign an administrator to pay off the estate’s debts, transfer the assets, and close the estate.

What Happens During Probate?

In Nevada, if the decedent’s estate exceeds $20,000, or if the decedent owned real estate, probate is required. The law in Nevada obligates the person who possesses a decedent’s last will and testament to “deliver it to the clerk of the district court” within thirty days of the death.

The decedent’s estate pays for the executor’s fee, lawyers’ fees, appraisers’ fees, court costs, and other probate expenses. Probating and managing an estate is a complex task with many parts, and an executor may be held liable under Nevada law for any failure to meet his or her obligations.

Finally, the executor of the will must submit to the probate court a report that spells out what the estate owns, how its assets are to be distributed, and who receives what. Once the estate’s assets have been distributed, the executor will then formally ask the probate court to close the estate.

How Are Smaller and Larger Estates Handled?

If the estate owns no real property, and if the estate is valued below $20,000, certain surviving family members or anyone else entitled to inherit the estate may initiate proceedings forty days after the death by using a form called an Affidavit of Entitlement.

That affidavit allows any party that is holding the estate’s assets (such as a bank, pension plan administrator, or stock brokerage company) to release those assets to the estate’s beneficiaries, and there is then no need for a probate court proceeding.

If the estate is valued between $100,000 and $200,000, the estate proceeds through “summary administration,” a simpler probate procedure. If the estate’s value exceeds $200,000, the estate goes through “general administration,” a more extensive probate procedure.

What is Considered Your Estate?

Not everything that you own is necessarily considered part of your estate. Your share of jointly-owned items, such as bank accounts and real estate holdings, go to the other owner or owners.

Life insurance policies and bank accounts that have payable-on-death designations go without probate to the designated beneficiaries, and any assets or properties that you move into a living trust are no longer part of your estate.

With a living trust, when it’s time, your trustee will transfer the assets to your heirs without interference from the probate court. A Nevada probate lawyer can help you prepare the living trust that’s right for you and your loved ones.

How Long is the Probate Process?

The amount of time needed for probate in Nevada depends on the total value of the estate and whether there are challenges to the will or other complications. On average, the general administration process takes from nine to twelve months.

Creditors have ninety days to submit claims, so probate for simpler estates usually does not require much more than three months. But for the most complicated cases, probate may take as long as several years.

If a will is disputed, a probate trial may be required. However, a will may not be disputed in Nevada simply because someone is displeased with its terms. Anyone who contests a will in this state must present evidence that the will is legally invalid.

When Should You Contact a Probate Attorney?

The probate process can be quite complicated, especially if the will is contested, but even without a dispute, timelines must be followed and specific legal paperwork must be filed. If deadlines are missed, the process takes much longer.

For most people, especially if you are grieving the loss of a family member, probate can be overwhelming without help from an attorney. If you have been named as the executor of a will, contact a Las Vegas probate attorney as soon as possible after that person’s death.

As mentioned above, your loved ones can avoid probate if, instead of a will, you prepare a living trust with the help of a Nevada probate lawyer. Your assets can be transferred to a living trust that resembles a will, and you’ll name a trustee who will manage the trust after you pass away.

Do You Need a Comprehensive Estate Plan?

A living trust or a last will and testament should be a part of your comprehensive estate plan. The most basic estate planning may be accomplished with a will alone, but – particularly in Nevada – if your estate is substantial or complicated, you should prepare a comprehensive plan.

The estate planning team at Fuller Law Practice helps their clients prepare estate plans that include durable powers of attorney, advanced health care directives, and living wills. We also help executors and beneficiaries who are dealing with the probate process.

If you have not established an estate plan, the time to start planning your estate is now. Nevada probate lawyer Rebecca A. Fuller offers comprehensive estate planning services and handles probate cases for her clients in the Las Vegas area and throughout Nevada.

You can learn more about wills, trusts, probate, and estate planning by calling Fuller Law Practice in Las Vegas at 702-935-4144. Attorney Rebecca A. Fuller will prepare the documents you need, offer sound legal advice, and if necessary, fight on your behalf in a Nevada courtroom.