By: Robert L. Morris, Esq., Partner at Grant Morris Dodds
During the 2011 Legislative Session the Nevada State Legislature passed Senate Bill 221. A major provision of SB 221 was the enactment of the Independent Administration of Estates Act, hereafter the “Act.” The Act became effective October 1, 2011, and is codified in Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 143.300 et al.
The goal of the Act is to streamline the probate process in Nevada. Many people will also see this statute as creating a “do-it-yourself probate.” Historically “probate” has been a hiss and a byword and was categorized with unnecessary legal fees, court costs, delay and unnecessary oversight. To add insult to injury many families discovered for the first time upon the death of a loved one that the recently departed’s will did not protect his or her estate from this probate process.
The Act, as found in NRS 143.300 et al., is designed to allow for varying levels of administration with limited court oversight.
Full Authority. If there is no objection and the beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate actually love each other and do not want to spend their inheritance trying to litigate their siblings into oblivion, a granting of “full authority” to the executor or administrator (collectively “personal representative”) under the Act may be a great alternative to a general probate administration. Under the Act’s “full authority” provisions the personal representative is granted authority to administer the decedent’s estate under the Act and does not return back to the court to seek approval until the final account and petition for payment of fees, contemporaneous with the distribution of the estate. An exception to this would be for the following transactions: sale or exchange of real property, borrowing of money, allowance for compensation, preliminary and final distributions, or transactions between the estate and the personal representative or counsel.
Limited Authority. For those families that may not want to completely embrace the Kumbayah approach to probate there is an alternative middle-of-the-road administration under the Act wherein an a personal representative may seek for a more formal administration requiring him or her to report back to the court more regularly.
Also of note is the fact that administration under the Act can be objected to during the initial petition or anytime thereafter upon petition of an interested party. Also, a personal representative may be removed for cause much like in a general probate administration. The remedies available to a beneficiary against a self-dealing personal administrator remain available under the Act.
In summary, this recent Act is a great tool for families and beneficiaries who are all on the same page and are stuck with the unfortunate reality of probate. The Act is designed to greatly reduce the transaction costs involved in these types of situations. If you would like to learn more about the Independent Administration of Estates Act please contact one of the highly specialized attorneys of Grant Morris Dodds.