If 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Probate stands in the way of your heirs and their inheritances when your assets are in your name at the time of your death. Nevada probate can take a significant amount of time (often a year or more), and most people would like their heirs to receive their inheritances in a more timely manner. For some, this wait is not a problem. For other families, however, there may be an immediate need for liquidity.
The waiting period is only one of the problems with the Nevada probate process. Expenses can accumulate during this process , and they can ultimately consume a noticeable percentage of the estate (often 4% - 8% or more if there is a contest). This is all money that could have gone to the heirs if probate was avoided.
It is possible to avoid probate in Nevada. There are a number of ways to go about it, and one of the most popular probate avoidance solutions is the revocable living trust.
Once you convey assets into the name you have given to your revocable living trust you name a trustee that is empowered to manage the assets that are titled in the trust. You also name a beneficiary or beneficiaries who would receive distributions out of the trust. The nature of these distributions would be decided by you when you create the trust agreement.
Initially you may serve as both the trustee and the beneficiary. By doing so, you do not surrender control or beneficial use of the assets. You can distribute assets to yourself, manage your own investments, and change the terms of the trust agreement if you want to do so. Since the trust is revocable, you can even revoke it entirely if you ever choose to do so. Since the point is to facilitate the transfer of your financial assets after you pass away you name a successor trustee, and you name beneficiaries who will receive distributions out of the trust after you die.
Once the assets have been conveyed into the revocable living trust they are no longer considered to be probate assets under the laws of the state of Nevada. As a result, when the trustee distributes monetary resources to the beneficiaries of the trust these asset transfers are not subject to the process of probate.
The creation of a revocable living trust is one way to avoid the probate process, but there are others as well. If you would like to discuss all of your options with a licensed professional please feel free to contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. to request a no obligation consultation.
We will listen carefully as you explain your objectives, gain an understanding of your unique personal situation, and make the appropriate recommendations. You can then go forward with a tailor-made estate plan that will facilitate a fast, efficient, and cost-effective transfer of assets to your loved ones when the time comes. To learn more, please download Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.'s free probate process report.
Probate is a legal process wherein a court oversees the distribution of a deceased person's estate to the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate after the payment of all debts, obligations and funeral expenses. A Nevada probate proceeding helps fulfill the wishes of the deceased as specified in a will. In case there is no will, the distribution of the deceased’s estate is made according to the applicable state laws.
The time required to complete the probate process depends on several factors including:
With the above factors in mind, the probate process may be completed in nine to twelve months or may take years. The probate process can be delayed if the validity of the will is contested, if there are disputes relating to the settlement of the debt of the deceased, or if there is a delay in finding beneficiaries. Tax issues can also delay a probate process.
The cost of the Nevada probate process may be set by the applicable state laws or by practice and therefore differs from state to state and case to case. The general costs included are:
Although some of these charges are fixed per state law, legal and accounting fees can be negotiated. However, in case of any type of disputes or litigation, the probate process may continue for months, if not years, and involve a number of additional costs.
To learn more about probate and Nevada probate laws, speak with a probate attorney at Anderson, Dorn & Rader. Our Reno law firm also provides free reports that further explain a probate.