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Is probate necessary for your loved one's estate?

When someone dies, many people think that the individual's estate must go through the probate process. However, that is not always the case. Ways exist for individuals to create their estate plans in a way that could allow them to avoid probate, but many people do not take advantage of those options.

If you are the executor or personal representative of a Nevada estate, you will certainly want to know whether you need to move forward with this process. Fortunately, going over the details of the will and the estate overall could help you determine whether you need to prepare for legal proceedings.

Details to consider

As the executor, it is important that you know the ins and outs of the estate, especially when it comes to the assets. Taking an inventory of the assets is a good place to start when determining whether probate is necessary. Some questions to answer when starting this inventory include the following:

  • Were the decedent's assets held only in his or her name or did joint ownership exist? If the decedent was the sole owner, the estate will likely need probate.
  • Did the decedent have assets that allowed beneficiary designations, and were those designations made? Payable-on-death accounts may allow assets to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate, but if the decedent did not appoint beneficiaries, you will probably need to probate those assets.
  • Have any named beneficiaries passed away? Even if your loved one named beneficiaries, you may need to initiate probate if any of those beneficiaries have died or are otherwise unable or unwilling to collect the bequest.
  • Did your loved one have a will? Without a will, the estate will likely need probate or estate administration to determine the distribution of assets. But even with a will, you may need to probate the estate for any of the previously mentioned reasons.

If you feel intimidated by having to determine whether important legal matters like probate apply to your loved one's estate, that is understandable. Many people do not have a working knowledge of the laws and information that go into properly settling a deceased person's affairs. Fortunately, you do not have to try to navigate any of these important decisions alone.

Having assistance

If you know that you will act as the executor of your loved one's estate, you may want to obtain legal help soon after your loved one's passing. An experienced probate attorney could help you go over the details of your loved one's estate and determine whether probate is needed. If it is, this legal professional could assist you throughout the process.

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