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What happens in the probate process

Some people might wonder what is involved in the probate process. A person must file a petition for probate. If there is a will, a Nevada court will decide whether it is valid. In some cases, family members might challenge the will. The court would then hear evidence to decide how to proceed.

Generally, a will names an executor who is responsible for handling the estate. If there is no estate plan, the court appoints a personal representative and assets are distributed according to state intestacy law.

The job of the executor includes locating the decedent's assets, paying creditors, identifying beneficiaries and distributing assets to beneficiaries once the estate's debts are paid. The executor has to notify all creditors and other interested parties that the probate process is underway. This allows creditors to respond regarding any debts. However, they have a time limit in which this must be done, and claims made after that time do not have to be honored.

An executor is not required to be a legal and financial expert and is permitted to hire an attorney or other professionals to assist with probate administration or other elements of the estate plan. A person who is creating an estate plan might want to consider who would be best to appoint as executor. Some people might default to appointing a spouse or the oldest child, but those people might not necessarily be the best choice for the role. The executor should be honest and have good organizational skills. This should also be a person who can manage the process despite dealing with grief or other difficult emotions. Even if a will is not challenged in court, there could be conflict between family members about some of the documents.

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