What Does the Probate Process Entail?

In the State of Nevada, if someone you love has passed away and that person’s last will and testament needs to be probated, take the matter at once to a Las Vegas probate attorney.

What happens to your last will and testament upon your death? What is probate, and what does the probate process entail? What can happen if someone’s will is not probated? Can probate be avoided? How will a Las Vegas probate lawyer work on behalf of you and your loved ones?

Keep reading this brief discussion for the answers that you and your family may need about wills, executors, and the probate process in Nevada.

Probate Court Process

Upon your death, your estate’s assets and properties will probably be inventoried and evaluated as a part of the probate process. Outstanding taxes and debts are paid, and the assets that remain will be distributed to your beneficiaries according to the directions in your will.

Your last will and testament determines who will inherit your properties and assets. In Nevada, if the value of your estate is less than $25,000 at the time of your death, and if you do not own any real estate, probate may not be required, but your creditors still must be paid.

When you prepare a last will and testament, you will name an executor who will manage your estate after your death for the benefit of your heirs. The executor of your will may retain a Las Vegas probate attorney to assist with the probate process.

If you are preparing your will, or if you are the executor of someone’s will in Nevada, choosing the right Nevada probate attorney ensures that the probate process will be conducted smoothly, fairly, and properly.

What Are an Executor’s Responsibilities?

The executor of a will is obligated to take charge of an estate’s assets and to manage those assets properly. This may mean divesting the estate of risky investments, acting to thwart theft, or making certain that assets are insured properly. Any debts owed to an estate should be collected.

In other words, the executor of an estate must manage, protect, and secure the assets of the estate. Assets should be inventoried, and real estate should be appraised by a qualified professional appraiser. Other items may also require appraisals.

The executor of the will must notify the decedent’s creditors about the decedent’s death and pay the estate’s legitimate debts if the estate has the funds (or sell assets if necessary to pay for the estate’s debts). Executors must file comprehensive paperwork with the probate court.

Finally, after paying an estate’s debts and taxes, an executor must have the court’s approval to distribute the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries according to the instructions left in the will.

What Happens if a Will is Not Probated?

If an executor does not file a will with the probate court, that executor may be held liable for any of the estate’s losses that were avoidable, such as the theft of assets or losses on investments. Assets remain undistributed until an estate is probated.

If you’re the beneficiary of an estate, and if the executor of the will has not filed the will with the probate court, you may petition the court yourself – with your attorney’s help – to be designated as the estate’s administrator. Your attorney can also send a Notice of Probate to the executor.

That Notice requires the executor to produce the will. If the executor will not or cannot produce the will, discuss your legal options with your Nevada probate attorney.

What Are the Probate Deadlines?

The time required to close an estate depends on factors such as the estate’s complexity and size, locating someone to buy assets, and finding hard-to-locate assets. In Nevada, the executor of a will must submit a copy of the will to the probate court within thirty days of learning the decedent has passed away.

If someone who potentially has an interest in the estate disputes the last will and testament, that person must file an objection with the probate court within 120 days of the date that the last will and testament was filed with the court.

When creditors are told of a decedent’s death, they must submit a claim within sixty days (when an estate is worth less than $300,000) or ninety days (if an estate’s value exceeds $300,000). Creditors who do not meet the deadline are prevented by law from making further claims.

Can Your Estate and Loved Ones Bypass Probate?

There are several ways to avoid probate in Nevada. A Las Vegas probate lawyer can help you establish and transfer your assets into a revocable living trust. Upon your death, the person you’ve designated as your trustee can manage the trust without interference from a probate court.

If your assets are titled to transfer directly to your heirs, those assets are not probatable, including 401(k) accounts, life insurance, individual retirement accounts, and tax-deferred retirement plan proceeds.

These alternatives may also help you avoid probate without having to establish a trust:

Transfer-on-death securities: Brokerage accounts, stocks, and bonds can be automatically transferred to beneficiaries after the owner’s death.

Payment-on-death bank accounts: Because these accounts automatically transfer to the beneficiary after the owner dies, the beneficiary avoids a probate proceeding.

Beneficiary or Transfer-on-Death deeds: Nevada is among the states that permit property owners to create probate-avoiding, revocable deeds with an attorney’s help.

What Else Should You Know About Probate?

If you are the executor of a will in Nevada, ask a Nevada probate lawyer to help you meet the court’s requirements for resolving debts, paying taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

If you are a will’s beneficiary and you believe that the executor of a will is mishandling his or her responsibilities, it is essential to meet promptly with a probate attorney and discuss your options for taking legal action.

To learn more about probate in Nevada, to prepare a last will and testament, or to ensure that the probate process for your own estate is conducted properly after you pass away, promptly schedule a consultation with a Nevada probate attorney.