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Understanding the probate process

When people in Nevada plan to create wills, trusts and other key estate documents, they are often most concerned with protecting their assets and ensuring that their family is cared for after their death. While the issue of probate comes up frequently when considering estate planning, many people do not know what exactly happens during the probate process. Understanding probate can help people make decisions about their estates and plan for the future distribution of their assets.

The probate process is supervised by the court and involves the authentication of a will, the valuation of the assets of the decedents, the payment of necessary taxes and the distribution of the estate as determined by the court. Probate is governed by state law, and each state has regulations to determine what is necessary to go through probate.

During the probate, the judge will verify the will and appoint an executor or personal representative. The process also involves locating all of the assets, determining their value at the time of death, identifying creditors, paying bills from the estate and filing a final income tax return, all before distributing the remainder of the estate after debts and taxes are handled. When there is no will, the steps generally remain the same: Debts and taxes will still be paid from the estate before the assets remaining are distributed according to the state's intestacy laws.

Many people wish to plan their estates in order to avoid the probate process as much as possible, allowing property to pass without delays and extra costs through trusts, joint ownership, life insurance and other types of transfers. An estate administration lawyer may help a person thinking about the future develop necessary documents like wills and powers of attorney as well as organize a comprehensive plan for the distribution of assets.

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