When you pass away, your estate must be settled. If you have an estate plan, such as a trust or will, then your assets will be distributed in accordance with your estate planning documents. It is called “intestate succession” when you don’t have a trust or will when you pass away. Your estate will be distributed according to the laws of the state of your residence and any other state where you might own real estate.
Now, before you start thinking this might not be so bad, consider this:
When you die intestate, you have no say over how your assets are distributed or who will oversee the process. With a will, you may designate an executor, someone you trust to ensure your estate is properly administered and that your assets are divided up the way you want. This process is overseen by a court and is known as a probate. A trust works in a similar way allowing you to designate a trustee to oversee the process except that a court is generally not involved maintaining the privacy of your beneficiaries.
But in the absence of a will or trust, the court will appoint a personal representative to oversee your estate. This person will be responsible for not only distributing your assets but also settling any outstanding debts and selling off assets if there’s not enough funds in the estate.
That means that some of your most treasured heirlooms – the baseball card collection, the antique grandfather clock or your great-grandmother’s sterling silver tea set may very well end up being sold in an auction rather than in the hands of your loved ones. And of course, you won’t be around to stop it.
To learn more about the dangers of Nevada intestate succession and to create your own estate plan to prevent this from happening, contact the estate planning attorneys at Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.