What are the Steps to Probate in Nevada?
Probate is a legal term that describes the process that someone’s estate goes through after they pass away. The court helps give heirs and beneficiaries a road map on how to settle the estate and make sure all creditors and debts are paid. It also helps solidify a will and gives final payments per the person’s wishes to family and friends.
Not all estates have to go through probate. This can be a benefit because it can be a costly and lengthy procedure. It is possible to avoid it altogether if you gather your assets in a trust before you die. You may also avoid it if you only leave a small estate behind.
However, probate is not a bad word. It is a useful court procedure that gives step-by-step directions on how to handle assets and property after the death of a loved one.
Know key words
If you do have to go through probate, there are a few key terms you should know. These include:
Start the process
To start the process of probate in Nevada you must make sure that the state courts are the correct jurisdiction. Nevada courts can proceed with probate if the decedent lived in the state, owned property in the state, or if they passed away in Nevada.
There are different types of probate administration. Which one you need depends on the character of the decedent’s estate.
The first step in the process is to determine who will be the personal representative of the estate. If there was a will, then the executor named will be in charge. An administrator will be assigned if there is no will or if the named executor is unable to participate in the process.
Figuring out the last will and testament
The personal representative must file the last will and testament of the decedent if there is one. Oral wills are not accepted in Nevada. It must be in writing. The court will determine the validity of the will. They look at several things including the age of the decedent, how the will was executed, if there were any witnesses, if the decedent was of sound mind, and if they signed it under duress.
If there is no will, the court will continue with the process as specified by Nevada law. This means that all final distributions of any left-over assets will be given to family members in a specific order. Friends would not be able to claim a part of the estate if there is no will.
Handle all creditors
The next step the personal representative must do is notify all creditors of probate and the decedent’s death. This is done by sending a notice to all known creditors. The creditors then have a certain amount of time that they need to respond by to have any claim to the assets in the estate.
The creditor will need to file a claim against the estate. The personal representative then pays these claims after court approval. This is paid through the estate and the purpose is to make sure that all debts are clear and that no one else can file a claim later in the process.
Create an inventory and do the accounting of estate assets
Once the probate process has started, the personal representative has 120 days to file an inventory of all assets in the estate. This must be a list of the asset and its value. This list should include all bank accounts in the decedent’s name and all real property like homes, land, boats, and furniture.
At the point, property in the estate can be sold. This is usually only done if the estate does not have enough money to pay creditors. If there are enough assets in the estate, then beneficiaries can decide whether to sell any property.
The personal representative also needs to collect all receipts and disbursements during the process. These can be filed at the end of the process. It is at this time that the final tax return of the decedent should be filed. Tax returns should be added to the estate.
One the creditors have been paid, the assets have been calculated, and the tax and accounting steps are complete, the final process can begin. The personal representative will let the court know that all the other steps have been completed. They will request that the final distributions are made. This means whatever assets are left in the estate are given to beneficiaries.
If the will states specific beneficiaries, they will get the assets that the decedent intended them to have. This can be family members, friends, or even organizations. Nevada has specific laws on how to distribute property and assets if there is no will. No friends or organizations can claim part of the estate if there is no valid will. The court must agree to any distributions.
To conclude the process, the personal representative lets the court know that all steps of the process are complete. The court will double-check everything. If they are satisfied that the probate procedure is complete, they will discharge the personal representative and close the process.
How We Can Help
Not sure if you need a probate attorney? Have additional questions on the steps to probate in Nevada? Call our experienced probate attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your specific probate issue. Or read about the frequently asked questions regarding Nevada probate.