Court Jurisdiction: The Court and Types of Probate Proceedings in Nevada
It is often the case that individuals execute a Will to express their wishes as to the distribution of assets after they die. Whether or not a person has a Will, cases must go through the Probate Process. This article discusses the different options available depending on the value of the estate. The experienced probate attorneys at Lee Kiefer & Park LLC can help you through the proceeding that fits your case.
The attorneys at Lee Kiefer & Park, LLC, have a wealth of probate experience. Managing partner Kennedy Lee has practiced trust and estates law in Nevada since completing law school in 2011. Mr. Kiefer and Mr. Park focus their practice on litigating matters related to trust and estate administration. Mr. Lee and partner Matthew Park carry the highest possible rating from the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell per-based lawyer rating service. The three partners experience is complimented by that of Suzanne Fitts, a 1989 law school graduate who serves the firm as of counsel.
In Nevada, the District Court of any county in which any part of their property exists, or the individual is a resident, may take jurisdiction and settle the estate. If the person who died was a resident of Nevada, the district court of any county may assume jurisdiction of the estate. First however, the court must consider the convenience of the forum to the personal representative named in the will, the beneficiaries of the estate, and other heirs. The Court assuming jurisdiction has exclusive jurisdiction over the matter.
In Nevada’s larger counties, Probate cases do not initially go straight to a District Court Judge. In Clark County, all probate proceedings are initially assigned to the Probate Commissioner. The Probate Judge may have a hearing if someone objects to the commissioner hearing the case. In Washoe County, a Probate Commissioner also presides over cases. In each of these instances, if the matter is contested, the Probate Commissioner will generally issue a Report and Recommendation to the Probate Judge. The Commissioner will set out the facts they found and recommend action based on their conclusions based on the law. For matters that are not contested, the Probate Commissioner will have the Probate Judge issue an order. See Probate Post
Types of Proceedings
General Administration is a full probate where a personal representative is appointed to administer estate affairs. This type of proceeding is required when the net value of the estate, the value of assets subject to probate minus the encumbrances, exceeds $300,000 If the value of the estate is not known, General Administration can also be used. This process involves very meticulous court approval for each action that is taken.
Summary Administration is like General Administration except that certain proceedings are waived. The Court may order Summary Administration when the net value of the estate is less than or equal to $300,000. A petition for Summary Administration must contain several things including but not limited to the following: a statement that the decedent died a resident of Nevada, or owned real property when they died; consent of the personal representative to serve and verification they have not been convicted of a felony; the names, ages, and addresses of the heirs and beneficiaries; the relationship between each heir and the decedent; the estimated value of the estate; a list of beneficiaries that predeceased the decedent; and a copy of the will.
Set Aside Estate
If the net value of an estate does not exceed $100,000, the Court can simply order the estate be distributed without administration. If the person has debts, a set aside proceeding is usually preferred because the Court can set aside the full estate to a spouse and exclude creditors. Surviving spouses can use a small estate affidavit when this net value applies, but if real property is involved, a set aside proceeding would be required.
If the person has a surviving spouse or minor children, or both, the entire estate must be given to them. The Court has discretion as to how to divide the estate between them. If they received other assets out of probate, some of the estate can be given to creditors, again, at the discretion of the Court. A petition must be presented to the Court including but not limited to the following: a specific description of all estate property; a list of all known encumbrances; the estimated value of the property with an explanation of the process to assess the value; a statement of debts; and the name, address, age and relationship to each heir,
Small Estate Affidavit
If the net value does not exceed $25,000 and does not include real property, those that are entitled to the assets can present an affidavit claiming the property without any court interaction. The person must state their name and address, the decedent’s date and place of death, show the value does not exceed the limit, that there is no petition already pending with the Court, show that all debts have been paid, and include a description of the property among other things.
If the person who died is not a resident of Nevada, the property still passes through Probate. This process is called ancillary probate. Only real property located in Nevada passes in this way. For estate proceedings in Nevada, a person is generally considered a resident of the place where the person lived at death. Commonly, the Court looks to the address listed in the death certificate to determine where the person lived. Some examples of evidence to oppose this may include a declaration of where they lived in a will or other document.
Probate is complicated with multiple possible proceedings. We would be happy to help you navigate the process and ensure that your wishes are executed upon your death. Contact Lee Kiefer and Park, LLC for a free consultation either by using the online form or calling 702-333-1711.