Probate & Trust Administration Lawyer in Las Vegas
Probate is the Legal Process of Changing Title to Assets From a Deceased Person to the Person or Entity Entitled to Receive Those Assets.
The assets of an estate will pass to the beneficiaries named in a will or trust. If there is no will or trust, then the assets will pass to the heirs under Nevada law – this is usually the closest living family member(s). Probate administration and trust administration is the process to collect and manage the assets left behind, pay the appropriate expenses and debts, and distribute the assets as required. A personal representative is in charge of a probate administration, and a trustee is in charge of a trust administration. Both are known as a fiduciary (someone who is held to fiduciary duties).
LKP represents personal representatives, trustees, beneficiaries, and creditors in court proceedings involving probate and trust administration cases of all types and sizes. Our experienced attorneys can help with your probate and trust administration needs.
Probate in Nevada
Depending on the value of the estate, the probate process can be simple and relatively brief, or complex and may require many months to complete.
- General Administration: If the net value of the estate exceeds $300,000, a full probate is required and the court will appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. For estates this large, the court must approve most actions taken by the personal representative.
- Summary Administration: If the net value of the estate is $300,000 or less, a somewhat abbreviated probate process is available. Slightly smaller estates do not require Court approval for all actions. Summary administration is like general administration, except that certain proceedings and notice requirements are waived.
- Set Aside Estate: If the net value of a decedent’s estate is $100,000 or less, the estate may be distributed by court order, without full administration.
- Small Estate Affidavit: If the net value of a decedent’s estate does is $25,000 or less, and does not include real property, those entitled to the assets of the estate may claim the property without court involvement by presenting an affidavit. The $25,000 limit increases to $100,000 if the person claiming the property is a surviving spouse.
- Ancillary Probate: If the decedent owned a real property in Nevada but did not live in Nevada, the real property must still go through one of the above probate processes, as applicable based on the value.
How to Start Probate in Nevada
If the decedent left a Will, then the original Will must be filed with the clerk of the district court in the county where the decedent lived within 30 days of death. This is usually done by the person named as the personal representative in the Will. Then the nominated personal representative files a petition seeking to open probate and their appointment as personal representative.
The petition for probate must include certain information, including:
- That the decedent was a resident of Nevada when the person died.
- Whether the personal representative named in the Will consents to serve.
- The names and addresses of the beneficiaries and whether they are minors or adults.
- The relationship between the decedent and the beneficiaries.
- The character and estimated value of the estate.
- The name and address of the person requesting appointment as personal representative and whether that person is a felon.
- The names of any beneficiaries who predeceased the decedent.
- Any facts necessary to prove that the Will is genuine.
A certified copy of the death certificate along with a copy of the filed Will must be attached to the petition. If the death certificate is not available, other evidence such as an affidavit from the funeral home can be used instead. However, the death certificate must be provided before the court can order the property distributed.
If the decedent did not leave a Will, then a family member may petition the court to open probate and for their appointment as personal representative. See below for further information.
Qualifications to Serve as Personal Representative
To qualify as a personal representative, a person must be 18 years of age, have never been convicted of a felony, and be a resident of the State of Nevada. If the individual is not a resident of Nevada, he or she can still serve as personal representative if they are nominated in the Will, or they serve with a co-personal representative that is a resident of Nevada.
The Requirement of a Bond for the Personal Representative May Be Waived
The requirement of a bond in Nevada is based on the court’s discretion. If a Will waives the requirement of bond, then the court generally does not require it. However, the court may still require a bond if evidence is presented showing its necessity.
If a Will does not waive the requirement of bond, or the decedent died without a Will, the court generally does not require bond if the liquid assets will be held in the attorney’s IOLTA (client trust account) or in a blocked account.
The Duties of the Personal Representative to Administer the Estate
In general, the job of the personal representative is to gather and distribute the decedent’s assets as the decedent directed in the Will or according to Nevada law if there is no Will. This is called administering the estate. The personal representative typically has the following duties:
- Identify and collect the assets of the estate.
- Manage and invest (when applicable) the assets of the estate pending distribution.
- Keep appropriate records of estate property and transactions, including the filing of tax returns, inventories, and accountings.
- Pay taxes, debts, and other expenses of the estate.
- Keep the court informed about the status of the administration of the estate.
- Distribute the remaining assets of the estate (including any real property or proceeds thereof) to the appropriate beneficiaries.
The Decedent May Have Died Without a Will
When a decedent does not leave a Will, the probate procedure is essentially the same as when a decedent dies with a Will. But, since there is no Will, the decedent could not have nominated a personal representative. Nevada law sets out the priority to determine who is entitled to serve as the personal representative as follows:
- Surviving spouse.
- A parent.
- A sibling.
- Any other kindred entitled to a share of the estate.
Contact a Probate and Trust Administration Lawyer in Nevada
LKP has highly experienced attorneys in Las Vegas who practice almost exclusively in probate and trust administration throughout Nevada. If you or someone you know needs probate or trust administration in Nevada, whether in Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, or Carson City, contact us for a free consultation using our online contact form. Or call 702-333-1711 to speak to an experienced probate and trust administration attorney.