After the death of a loved one, it is possible that his or her estate will go through the probate process. Probate establishes the validity of a will, identifies the assets included as part of the estate, appraises the value of the property and pays outstanding debts. There can be misconceptions regarding the probate process in Nevada, and if you believe that you have a rightful claim to a portion of an estate, it is wise to understand how probate works.
Nevada residents who are estate planning may wonder whether a will is the best choice. They might have heard that probate can be expensive and time-consuming. The probate process refers to the legal recognition of the will and the appointment of an administrator for the estate. This person's job is to inventory and distribute assets. Usually, the process is not lengthy or costly.
Individuals in Nevada who are planning for the ultimate distribution of their estates and whose only significant asset is real property may be able to avoid probate altogether by using some other methods of transferring property in place of a will. Probate can be expensive and time-consuming, so individuals may wish to consider changing the title in some way that will allow the real estate to pass straight to the beneficiary. One way of doing this is by creating a living trust. The property is transferred into the trust and retitled accordingly. A living trust permits the individual to keep control of the asset.
Nevada contains specific provisions in its probate code regarding the sale of assets from a decedent's estate. Unless the items that are sold are personal property that are exempted by the probate code, the personal representative must confirm sales of the estate with the court that is presiding over the probate process within 30 days of the sale.
While it is true that creating a will is a basic part of estate planning, it is important to note that a will is not all there is to the process. A will determines who will get what property after the owner passes on as well as determining who will be in charge of distributing the decedent's belongings. However, people should also consider using trusts because they offer more flexibility and protections than a will alone can provide.
When a person passes away and they have a will that outlines the execution of their estate, that document must pass through probate. However, in Nevada, the will may be contested prior to probate by any person, and the process of contesting and defending the document is outlined in Chapter 137 of the state statutes.
Under Nevada law, if a person dies with a will and assets, including real property or having a value of more than $20,000, his or her estate must be submitted to probate. Probate is the court-supervised process whereby a person's will is validated or challenged and the assets of his or her estate are distributed to beneficiaries. If the person dies intestate, without a will, then the estate will generally be settled by a similar process called administration.
As uncomfortable as it may seem for family members to discuss inheritance matters with their intended beneficiaries, not talking about it could lead to serious problems down the line. Parents in Nevada might have good reasons besides emotional concerns for not having the talk, such as a fear that their children will count on their inheritance too much. But having loved ones to hear about the wishes of the decedent for the first time during probate could make an already difficult time more challenging.
Wills, probate, power of attorney, medical directives, trusts and the list goes on and on. The words are familiar; however, the exact definitions may not be. Many throughout Nevada do not recognize the importance of each of these items as individual pieces and then as part of an overall estate plan. In fact, quite a few individuals mistakenly believe that these estate planning items only apply to wealthy individuals and families.
The image of a dusty will being pulled from a dresser drawer that had been its home for several decades might be good for a movie, but it isn’t good when it comes to actually probating that will. The truth is that the best estate plans are as organic as our lives are, because a lot happens during our lives.