What happens if your loved one died without a will?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2019 | Wills

The fact is that most people do not take the time to create an estate plan or even just a will. Admittedly, contemplating your own death isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, so it ends up on the back burner. Some people think they have plenty of time to address the issue, but no one can predict the future.

If your recently deceased loved one did not create an estate plan, let alone a will, then you will more than likely need to go through probate in order to deal with his or her estate.

You may not realize what needs addressing upon death

It’s easy to go about your life without thinking about what happens to the assets you acquire, the debts you incur or who will raise your children if you are not around. Your loved one probably did the same. Now, you are left to figure out what happens to everything. The probate process can help you in the following ways:

  • Nevada law determines who inherits your loved one’s property through its laws of intestacy, which means dying without a will. The law defines who a person’s heirs are and which ones inherit property in a certain order.
  • Initiating probate proceedings begins a time limit for your loved one’s creditors to seek payment.
  • Any property such as real estate needs transferring after death. Probate allows that to happen.

These are just some of the issues you will need to address to close the estate. The court will also require resolution to tax matters and other financial issues outstanding at the time of the person’s death.

Where do you start?

The first thing you will need to do is find all of the assets and liabilities that make up the estate. The value often determines what type of probate is required. Smaller estates go through a different process than larger ones do. From there, you will need to do the following:

  • Determine the county in which to file the probate.
  • File a petition with the court in order to initiate the probate process. You will need a certified copy of the death certificate in order to do this.
  • Include all of the pertinent information required to begin probate, such as names and addresses of all living heirs. All interested parties will require notification of the death and probate.
  • If all is in order, the court will appoint you as the estate’s personal representative or administrator.

From this point, you will undertake numerous duties in order to close the estate. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this process alone. You can enlist the help of an experienced probate attorney to guide you through it.