Probate is a court-administered process to identify and distribute a decedent’s estate. The court will appoint an executor who will follow the will. If a will does not exist, Nevada law will be used to distribute assets to family members.
The purpose of probate is supervising the distribution of an estate to prevent fraud. All assets in the estate are frozen until a judge finds the will is valid, all relevant people have been notified, and all assets are identified. Creditors and taxes must also be paid before the court issues an order to distribute property.
In general, probate can take 6-9 months on average. The process can be much longer for a complex estate or challenges. Nevada also offers a simplified probate process for small estates.
Probate is the only way to transfer real estate when a trust is not set up prior to death. Not all assets need to go through probate, however. In general, all assets that are owned solely by the deceased person without a named beneficiary must go through probate. Assets owned by a trust do not go through probate. Probate is also avoided for assets with a joint owner or designated beneficiary.
It is not legally necessary, but there are many benefits to hiring a Las Vegas probate lawyer for estate administration. If an executor makes a mistake during probate, the executor can be held liable.