Learn About Probate
Probate is an important to prevent fraud & theft.
Many residents of Nevada know very little about probate — until they are in the middle of these court proceedings after a loved one dies. Probate is a confusing and time-consuming process in which assets are transferred to heirs. If you leave a will, probate is used to make sure the terms are followed. Probate is an important process to prevent fraud and theft, but it can be a burden on loved ones.
Working with probate lawyers in Las Vegas like Kurt and Blake Johnson to plan your estate can help avoid probating your estate. This means your assets will pass directly to your loved ones without court proceedings. Family members can also work with a probate lawyer to guide them through the probate process and avoid costly mistakes.
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How Is Probate Started?
This requests that an executor be appointed.
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Probate begins when a Petition for Probate is filed with the court. This requests that an executor is appointed. If a will exists, it must be filed with the county within 30 days. The will usually name an executor. If there is no will, the court appoints someone as the Personal Representative.
After this petition is filed, a notice is published in a newspaper to notify creditors. Creditors typically have 3 months to make a claim. Letters Testamentary are issued to the executor of legal authority to act on the estate’s behalf.
An inventory must be filed with the court of the estate’s assets.After taxes and creditors are paid, a petition must be filed to close probate.
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How Does the Probate Process Work?
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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.
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This means the executor may be held liable for paying back money after making an error on the tax return or missing a creditor. A probate lawyer can help with the paperwork necessary, finding assets, and the many steps that must be taken.
In Las Vegas and elsewhere in Nevada, probate is required unless:
  • The estate has a gross value of less than $25,000 (for anyone to claim) or $100,000 (for a surviving spouse)
  • There is no Nevada real estate involved
In this case, inheritors can skip probate completely. To do so, an affidavit must be submitted after 40 days stating the person is entitled to a certain asset. This document will need to be signed under oath. If someone else or a bank is holding the property, it will be necessary to get the affidavit and a copy of the death certificate to claim the asset.
Nevada also offers a shorter probate process for small estates. To use this shortcut, the executor must file a request with the local probate court. The court can authorize the executor to distribute assets without the red tape of court.
The simplified process can be used if:
  • The estate has a gross value of less than $300,000 with court approval OR
  • The estate has a value of less than $100,000. In this case, the court must set it aside for a spouse and minor children without payment to creditors.
Which Assets Go Through Probate?
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Not all assets go through the probate process in Las Vegas. You will likely need to go through probate for the following:
  • Unregistered assets like jewelry, art, and furniture
  • Assets held in the decedent’s name only
  • Half of assets registered with the decedent’s spouse (community asset)
  • Portion of assets belonging to the decedent he or she held as a registered tenant with other people
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Assets That Avoid Probate.
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Many assets can change ownership without the probate process. This is why working with a probate lawyer in Las Vegas is recommended. Assets that can avoid probate include:
  • Payable On Death assets. These are held in investment and bank accounts with this special designation.
  • Assets in a credit union or bank if the decedent was named as someone else’s trustee
  • Assets in which there is a named beneficiary. This includes life insurance proceeds and retirement accounts.
  • Assets held in joint tenancy.
  • Assets in a living trust.
  • Assets that are community property due to the right of survivorship.
  • Assets that go to a surviving spouse.
Ways to Avoid Probate in Nevada
benefits to hiring a Las Vegas probate lawyer for estate administration.
Probate can be confusing, expensive, and long. An experienced Las Vegas probate attorney can recommend the best strategies depending on your situation. The following are the most common ways to avoid probate in Nevada.
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Joint Ownership
Owning property jointly with someone is one way to avoid probate. This means the surviving owner will receive the property when the other owner dies. No probate will be necessary. There will still be paperwork involved to show the title is now held solely by the remaining owner.
There are two ways to hold joint ownership in Nevada. The first is joint tenancy. This means ownership passes automatically to the surviving owners when one owner dies. This option is usually used for couples, with or without marriage.
Living Trust
A living trust can be used to avoid probate for almost any asset, including cars, real estate, and bank accounts. A trust document is similar to a will. It will name the trustee to take over the trust after your death.
Ownership of all property must be transferred to yourself as the trustee of the trust. The assets will then be controlled by the trust document. When you die, the trustee will transfer it to beneficiaries without court proceedings.
Many types of property can also be set up with transfer-on-death registrations. This includes securities (bonds and stocks in a brokerage account), vehicles, and real estate. With real estate, you can sign and record a “deed upon death.”
When you die, the beneficiary will automatically receive ownership. You can revoke the deed at any time. For a vehicle, you can register the vehicle to transfer on death to a named individual. This person will automatically inherit the car.
Payable-on-Death Accounts.
Adding a payable-on-death designation to an account is the easiest way to avoid probate. This designation can be added to checking accounts, CDs, savings accounts, and investment accounts.
You will retain control and ownership of the money and account. The POD recipient can only claim the money when you die. To do this, the person will make a claim directly with the bank.
It may be used with bank accounts, vehicles, and real estate. Each owner holds an equal share of the property.
The other option is community property with right of ownership. Because Nevada is a community property state, spouses jointly own all property acquired unless steps are taken to separate property. If the property is owned as community property, it will pass to the surviving spouse without probate.
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    Should I Plan to Avoid Probate?
    Las Vegas Estate Planning Attorneys
    Probate is a time-consuming and expensive process. Your family members may be left waiting up to a year to take possession of the assets you are leaving them. This can financially devastate your family instead of providing for them once you’re gone. Probating an estate also costs money. Working with an estate probate attorney today can spare your family this burden.
    There are many ways to avoid probate in Las Vegas with the help of a probate attorney. Depending on your options, the cost may be very minimal yet allow you to directly pass assets like cash and real estate to your loved ones. Contact qualified Las Vegas wills and probate lawyers, Kurt and Blake Johnson, to learn more about options for avoiding probate.

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