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Becoming an estate administrator when there is no will

One function of a will is to appoint someone to be executor of the estate. If a person dies without a will, which is known as dying "intestate," someone still needs to be appointed to administer the estate. While Nevada may have specific laws about classes of people who cannot serve as an executor or administrator, in general, there are several steps a person must go through to assume this position.

Generally, a spouse has the first right of refusal followed by the children. If there are no immediate family members or these individuals decline, another family member may be appointed. The court will decide who will take the position if family members are unable to agree. Spouses and children may need to sign a waiver to allow someone else to become estate administrator. Probate will most likely happen in the county that was the residence of the decedent, so it is necessary to get filing requirements and timelines from that county court.

A Notice of Petition to Administer Estate and a Petition for Probate may both be required. Along with these, the administrator must also file contact information for the heirs, an assessment of the state's gross value and a certified copy of the death certificate. It might be necessary to attend a probate hearing and get a probate bond.

Whether or not a will, a trust or other estate planning documentation has been prepared, an attorney may be able to assist an executor or an estate administrator. If there is not an estate plan, the state will decide how assets are distributed. If there is an estate plan, family members might still mount challenges if the language is unclear or they are unhappy with how assets are distributed. An attorney may be able to help with this as well.

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