Probate: What to Expect…Probate: What to Expect…

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As a probate professional, the questions I most often hear from potential clients are: What is probate?  How complicated is it?  Can I do it myself?  How much does it cost?  And, how long will it take?  Here are a few short answers to these very important questions.

What is probate?

Probate means to prove a Last Will and Testament, or generally carry out the administration of a decedent’s estate with some level of court oversight wherein title to assets in the decedent’s name is transferred to beneficiaries of the estate, after the payment of debts and expenses.

There is a common misconception that if an individual dies with a legally executed will their estate will not be subjected to the probate process.  This is not the case.  Regardless of whether a person dies with a will (testate), or without a will (intestate) the decedent’s estate will be subject to probate if there are assets owned in the decedent’s name at the date of death.

The personal representative will petition the court to be appointed and granted either letters testamentary or letters of administration, based upon the type of probate.

How complicated is the probate process?

Under Nevada law probate is based on the size of the estate as follows:

  • General Administration – estates over $200,000
  • Summary Administration – estates between $100,000 -$200,000
  • Set Aside – Estates under $100,000
  • Affidavit of Entitlement – Estates consisting of personal property under $20,000

Under Nevada law there are various provisions designed to streamline the probate process and support family members:

  • Administration under the Nevada Independent Administration of Estate Act
  • Family allowance from a deceased’s estate during the pending probate administration
  • Vesting of Homestead from a decedent’s estate.
  • Set Aside of estate assets for the support of surviving spouse and / or minor children

Can I handle the probate myself?

The answer is YES!   Nevada law does not require the executor to hire an attorney.  Some probate forms are available to the general public.  Call us and we’ll be glad to point you in the right direction.  With that said, it’s generally advisable that you seek the counsel of an attorney, as with any legal matter.  Our experienced attorneys and staff are able to assist you in navigating your way through the probate process, and can help you avoid potential liability.  We at Grant Morris Dodds are committed to not only representing you from the simplest to the most complex estate.

How much does probate cost?

The Nevada Revised Statutes allow for probate attorney fees to be paid based upon a percentage of the total estate or at an hourly rate, as may be agreed upon.  However, these costs are generally paid at the end of probate.  At GMD we are committed to pursuing creative solutions to avoid or limit lengthy probate administrations as part of our commitment to keep fees low.  Also, we keep firm overhead low so savings can be passed on in the form of lower rates.  Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss fees and costs.

How long does probate take?

Every state is different, but as a general rule, a full administration should take five or six months.  If the estate value is smaller, probate can be completed much quicker.  Unfortunately, on occasion litigation will arise, be it a will contest, beneficiary representation, or in handling allegations of fraud, undue influence, coercion, lack of capacity, etc.  At Grant Morris Dodds we are uniquely positioned to provide exceptional service, not only in simple probate matters, but also complex estate litigation matters.

Please contact us to schedule a free one-hour consultation to discuss your specific probate issues.

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