Nevada Probate Procedure
Probate in Nevada, much like elsewhere, is the legal process by which a court supervises the orderly and proper distribution of a deceased person’s assets to creditors, heirs, and beneficiaries. If a valid will exists, assets are distributed accordingly. If there is no will, assets are distributed pursuant to state statute.
Under Nevada probate law, there are different types of administration depending upon the size of the estate. Therefore, it is important for heirs to familiarize themselves with the rules and procedures of probate. As with other important legal matters, it is suggested that you seek out a competent Nevada probate attorney to assist you with the probate.
Types of Probate Administration in Nevada
An estate may or may not need administration to be settled, depending on the estate’s size:
- Estates below $20,000 need only file an Affidavit of Entitlement (aka Small Estate Affidavit)
- Estates below $100,000 may be set aside without complex administration.
- Estates of greater than $100,000 and not exceeding $200,000 require an abbreviated summary administration.
- Estates above $200,000 require a full administration.
Steps to Take
The following steps are recommended upon a loved one’s death:
- Locate the will or other estate planning documents.
- Contact a Nevada probate lawyer to open probate as soon as possible in order to protect and secure the deceased’s assets.
- Obtain several copies of the death certificate, which will be used to open the Nevada probate, collect insurance, transfer joint tenancies, etc.
- If a will exists: Contact the executor named in the will. Under Nevada probate law, the will is to be filed within 30 days of the death, with the county clerk. The executor need not be a Nevada resident.
- If no will exists: An administrator should be nominated and then approved by the Nevada probate court. An administrator may be a bank, public administrator, friend, relative, or an attorney. The Administrator must be atleast 18 years old and a Nevada resident.
- The named executor/administrator should then: (A) Inventory and secure all assets. (B) Determine debts owed and identity of known creditors
Do all assets have to be probated?
No. Certain assets are not subject to probate in Nevada, such as:
- Assets held in Joint Tenancy or as Community Property with Rights of Survivorship
- Assets held in a Trust
- Life insurance
- Pension benefits, IRAs
Nevada Probate Fees
The personal representative and the Nevada probate attorney negotiate the probate fee. This may be on an hourly basis or based on a small percentage of the estate. If based upon a percentage, Nevada probate law provides a specific schedule to follow:
- 4% of the first $100,000
- 3% of the next $100,000
- 2% of the next $800,000
- 1% of the next $9,000,000
- 0.5% of the next $15,000,000
Above $25,000,000, to be determined by the Nevada probate court
Pros and Cons of Probate
The advantages of probate include court supervision and the protection from theft or misuse. The disadvantages include the delay, inconvenience, and costs.
Selecting a Nevada Probate Attorney
Just as it is important to select a heart doctor to perform heart surgery, it is important to select a Nevada probate lawyer who primarily practices in estate planning and probate. An attorney belonging to the Southern Nevada Estate Planning Council would be a safe selection.
Remember, you are not required to hire the attorney who prepared the will.
What is Guardianship?
Guardianship means obtaining the legal authority to make decisions for another person. A “guardian” is the person appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of someone else. The person over whom the guardianship is granted (the child or the adult) is referred to as the “ward.”
Why Might a Guardianship Be Needed?
Normally, parents have the legal right to make decisions for their children, and adults have the legal right to make decisions for themselves. Sometimes this is not possible, and someone else needs to step in to take care of a child or an adult.
A guardianship may be needed over a child if there is no parent available to care for a child. A guardian over the child’s estate may be needed if the child inherited assets (for instance, life insurance or cash accounts). This protects the assets until the child is an adult.
A guardianship may be needed over an adult if the adult is incompetent, meaning the person is unable to take care of himself or herself due to mental illness, mental deficiency, disease, or mental incapacity. A guardianship may also be needed if the adult is of limited capacity, meaning the person can make some, but not all decisions necessary for his or her own care.
Types of Guardianship
There are three different types of guardianship in Nevada. Anyone asking the court to be named a person’s guardian must specify what type of guardianship is sought:
- Guardianship over the Person: this type of guardianship means the guardian is responsible for the well-being and care of the ward. The guardian will be able to make personal and medical decisions for the ward, including healthcare decisions, decisions about where the ward will live, and in the case of children, decisions regarding school.
- Guardianship over the Estate: this type of guardianship allows the guardian to make financial decisions for the ward. It is important to know that court approval is typically needed to spend or sell any of the ward’s assets, even after a guardianship is granted.
- Guardianship over the Person and Estate: this type of guardianship allows the guardian to make personal, medical, and financial decisions for the ward.
Call us at Gerrard Cox Larsen at 702-796-4000 if you feel that you need a consultation or assistance setting up a Guardianship. Our attorneys have significant experience establishing and litigating Guardianships.
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