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Probate

Trust and Probate Litigation in Nevada

It’s important to know what probate litigation means.  Simply stated, “probate” is the process of administering the assets of a deceased person, either according to the terms of a will, or, when there is no will, according to state intestacy laws.  A common misconception is that probate is often a routine and simple process.  While that may be true in some estates, probate can become complicated by unanticipated including but not limited to: disputes over the terms of the will or the application of intestacy laws; distribution of separate vs. community property; rights of putative children in light of adoption,...

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Family Friendly Provisions of the Nevada Probate Code

The unexpected loss of a loved one can leave a family not only with a huge emotional loss but also in financial straits. The purpose of the Nevada Probate Code, as found in Title 12 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, is to accomplish the speedy settlement of a decedent’s estates at the least expense to the parties involved. See NRS 132.010. A major concern of the Probate Code is the continued care of the surviving spouse and minor children. There are several family friendly provisions that allow for: 1) the set-aside of estates to surviving spouses and minor children despite the...

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Thoughts on Estate Planning and Over-Seas Flights

Imagine that you are preparing to fly an airplane from Los Angeles to Honolulu. You know that airplane engines need to be serviced and overhauled after a certain number of hours of operation and you also know that the plane you are going to fly to Honolulu, over 3,000 miles of open water, has not been serviced recently. Would you choose to ignore the service requirements of the engines of that airplane, knowing that  you have only one chance to get it right and that failure is not a viable option, particularly when that plane must travel non-stop for 3,000...

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Probate: What to Expect…

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...

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Probate Question: Am I responsible for my half sister’s debts after she passed away?

By: Mark L. Dodds, Esq., Partner at Grant Morris Doddsdebts

Question: Am I responsible for my half sister’s debts after she passed away?

Question Detail: My father is trying to get me to renounce my rights in favor of him regarding a half sister I have not seen in twenty years; he says I will be responsible for her debts if I do not sign the papers. Is this a fact? Am I responsible for someone else’s debts since she has passed away?

Answer: The fact that your father is  trying  to scare you into giving him an interest in your half-sister’s estate suggests to me that there must be some reason why he wants to get control of this estate, that reason most likely being that the value of her estate exceeds the debts of her estate. There is no reasonable scenario that I can think of where it may be possible that your father is trying to do you a favor; instead, it is likely he is trying to scare you into giving up a valuable inheritance.

In the first place, a person’s death cannot cause you to ever be liable for the debts of the one who died unless you were already a co-signer with the decedent on a debt. Furthermore, your act of accepting or rejecting your rights in the decedent’s estate will have absolutely no effect on your liability for any such debts. Since you have not seen your half-sister for 20 years, it is virtually certain that you are not a co-debtor on any of her debts, so you will incur no risk of liability in refusing to release your interest in her estate. And if it should be that the value of her estate is sufficient to cover any of your half-sister’s debts, then you will be entitled to your share of the estate after those debts are paid.