Nevada Probate Process

June 18, 2015

probate lawyer scrabble wordsIf you have recently been notified that you were named as a beneficiary in someone’s will, you may be curious about the probate process that will take place. Probate is a court process that can be lengthy, depending on the size and nature of the decedent’s estate.  The court must first appoint a personal representative for the estate, and many other steps must be taken before the estate’s assets can be distributed to you and the other beneficiaries. Once all assets have been liquidated, how long does it take to distribute estate assets? There is no definitive answer to that question, but being familiar with some of the factors that affect the Nevada probate process can give you an idea of what to expect.

How Busy is the Probate Court?

You may not have even considered that the location of the court handling the probate proceedings would have an impact on the length of the process.  But, depending on how busy the court’s docket or calendar is, closing probate could take a long time.  For example, courts located in crowded metropolitan areas will typically have a larger docket, which means it make take longer to get your probate matter scheduled.  The opposite may be true for courts that serve smaller populations.  The law requires that an estate must be probated in the jurisdiction of the decedent’s last primary residence.

How Large is the Estate and How Many Creditors Are There?

One primary factor that affects the length of the probate process is the size and complexity of the estate.  A large estate that has a variety of assets, such as real property, investment accounts, businesses and residences, will typically take much longer to complete the probate process.  Also, the claims of all creditors against the estate must be heard by the court.  Each has a right to a hearing, as well as to filing motions, as necessary.  If there are any disputes regarding claims, the probate process will be extended.

Is There a Possibility of Litigation?

In addition to the possibility of creditor hearings, if there are any disputes among the beneficiaries, the probate process will take longer.  Estate law requires that all named beneficiaries be notified of the will, either by mail or personal service.  Each beneficiary has a legal right to representation in probate court, as well as the right to have the court hear any motions to challenge or change the terms of the will. This means that beneficiaries will hire attorneys, who will collect evidence and bring it before the court to decide the disputes.  If any beneficiaries live out of state, the process may take even longer.

Non-Probated Assets

Now, if you are the beneficiary of a trust, as opposed to a will, then it is very likely that there will be no need to go through the probate process to receive your inheritance.  In that situation, you should be able to claim your inheritance quickly.  The most common types of non-probated assets are those created by contracts and trusts, such as life insurance policies and annuities.

Consult a Nevada Probate Lawyer

If you have questions regarding the probate process, or any other estate planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.

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