What is Probate?
Probate pays a deceased person’s debts and distributes that person’s estate to his or her heirs and beneficiaries. How does the probate process work in Nevada? What assets are subject to the probate process? When will you need the advice and services of a Las Vegas probate attorney?
Probate takes time. The probate process in Nevada usually requires a full review of the decedent’s assets, the payment of outstanding debts, and the distribution – supervised by the probate court – of what remains of the estate to the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries.
In the State of Nevada, the probate process usually requires six to eighteen months, but if an estate is exceedingly complicated, or if the beneficiaries are involved in a dispute over the estate, the probate process may take even longer.
What Assets Are Subject to Probate?
In Nevada, these assets are subject to the probate process:
- Personally-owned property: Anything that was owned by the decedent alone, without a designated beneficiary, will be subject to the probate process. This may include, for example, checking and savings accounts, vehicles, personal belongings, and real estate.
- Investments: Investments that are owned solely by the decedent, such as mutual funds, stocks, and bonds, are also subject to the Nevada probate process.
- Interest in a corporation or a partnership: A decedent’s interest in a corporation or a partnership is usually subject to the probate process, depending on the terms of the shareholder or partnership agreement.
- Tenant-in-common property: If the decedent owned property as a tenant in common with others, the decedent’s share of that property is subject to the Nevada probate process.
What Assets Are Not Subject to Probate?
These assets are not subject to the probate process in Nevada:
- Trust assets: Assets that have been transferred into a revocable living trust are not subject to the probate process. The trustee distributes assets directly to the beneficiaries without probate court supervision.
- Jointly-owned property: Property owned as tenants by the entirety or in joint tenancy passes directly to the surviving owner or owners without being subject to the Nevada probate process.
- Transfer-on-death and pay-on-death accounts: Nevada allows “transfer-on-death” designations for securities and “pay-on-death” designations for bank accounts. These assets pass directly to the beneficiary without interference from the probate court.
- Retirement accounts and life insurance policies: If beneficiaries have been designated, life insurance policies and retirement accounts aren’t subject to the probate process in Nevada but instead pass directly to the beneficiaries.
Can Smaller Estates Avoid Probate in Nevada?
When an estate is modest, several states allow the estate to avoid probate entirely, but every Nevada estate is subject to this state’s probate process. However, the state makes several simplified probate procedures available for smaller estates:
- For a Nevada estate that is valued at or below $25,000 and includes no real estate, a simple affidavit will transfer the assets directly to the beneficiaries without any need for the full probate process.
- If the decedent owned real estate, a “summary administration” – that is, a streamlined probate procedure – is available in Nevada for estates that are valued at or below $100,000.
What is the Cost of Probate?
The probate process in Nevada can be expensive. The cost of probate depends on the complexity and size of the estate. Probate costs include appraisal costs and filing fees, but attorney’s fees, compensation for the estate’s executor, and disputes over the estate may also add to the cost.
When you prepare a will or a trust, a Las Vegas probate lawyer can probably give you a rough estimate of what your beneficiaries may have to pay for probate. If you are the beneficiary of an estate in Nevada, you should discuss the costs of probate with a Las Vegas probate attorney.
Should You Establish a Revocable Living Trust?
If you prepare a revocable living trust, your beneficiaries and your estate avoid the probate process, and you remain in control of the assets that have been transferred into the trust. Additionally, a revocable trust may be modified, amended, or dissolved if your situation changes.
While you are living, you may designate yourself as the trustee of your revocable trust. You will also designate a successor trustee who will manage the trust on your behalf after your death or should you become incapacitated. Upon your death, your revocable trust becomes irrevocable.
The State of Nevada does not impose an estate tax or an inheritance tax on beneficiaries. While a revocable trust avoids probate, a revocable trust does not avoid the federal estate tax. However, as of 2023, the federal estate tax usually applies only to estates valued at $12.92 million or more.
Do You Need to Prepare a Comprehensive Estate Plan?
A trust is usually part of a comprehensive estate plan. A Las Vegas estate planning lawyer can help you protect your assets, avoid probate, lower your taxes, and prosper in the years to come. If you’ve worked and saved but don’t have an estate plan, speak at once to an estate planning lawyer.
The particulars of your estate plan will hinge on your family’s specific needs and your own financial situation. If your loved ones rely on you, now is the time to speak about estate planning with a Las Vegas lawyer who can provide practical advice for planning your estate.
Depending on your family and financial situation, your estate plan may include an irrevocable or revocable trust or a last will and testament. Another part of estate planning is preparing advance directives – financial and healthcare powers-of-attorney – for unforeseen circumstances.
Fuller Law Practice is Here for You and Your Family
At Fuller Law Practice, Rebecca A. Fuller is an award-winning Nevada attorney with more than seventeen years of probate and estate planning experience. When she prepares your will or trust, she will explain the process and ensure that your will or trust meets your particular needs.
Attorney Rebecca A. Fuller handles probate cases, represents beneficiaries, and provides comprehensive estate planning services to clients throughout the State of Nevada. We can’t know the future, but Fuller Law Practice can help you prepare for whatever tomorrow may bring.
To find out more about the probate process, or if you need a probate lawyer’s help right now, call the offices of Fuller Law Practice in Las Vegas at 702-935-4144. Our team will evaluate your situation, provide sound legal advice, and if necessary, go to court to win the justice you need.