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FAQs: Avoiding Probate

Probate is a court-supervised process that distributes property after a person’s death. The family will typically need to go through the probate process to determine their loved ones’ wishes, pay debts, and distribute the property according to the person’s wishes. Prorate can be a long and complex process that results in endless questions. For such reasons, our Las Vegas estate planning attorneys answer the most common questions asked about the probate process.

What Happens During the Probate Process?

After a person passes away, the appointed family member will be responsible for going through the probate process. The person responsible for going through the probate process is typically the executor of the will. If the deceased person did not have a will, a court-appointed administrator would handle the proceedings. The executor or administrator is responsible for filing the required documents with the probate court after the individual’s death.

During the probate process, the probate court will authenticate the individual’s will and identify the person’s assets. The court will also contact heirs, beneficiaries, creditors and ensure that debts and taxes are paid. Once those steps are completed, the probate assets will be distributed.

How Long Does the Probate Process Take?

The probate process typically takes between six months to a year.

Is it Possible to Avoid the Probate Process?

Yes, it is possible to avoid probate in Nevada. Since the probate process can be long, costly, and confusing, many people take steps to spare their families the hassle of probate.

Living Trusts

In Nevada, you can make a living trust to avoid probate for nearly any type of asset, whether it’s real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, or more. Similar to a will, a living trust will require you to name someone to take over as a trustee after your death (known as a successor trustee). However, you will need to transfer ownership of your assets to yourself as the “trustee of the living trust.” This will allow the successor trustee to control your assets after your death. Then they will be able to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries without needing to go through probate proceedings.

Joint Ownership

Probate can also be avoided if there is joint ownership for an asset. This means that when one of the property owners dies, the full ownership will automatically go to the other owner. This typically occurs when spouses are joint owners of real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, and more.

Payable-on-Death

In Nevada, you can add a payable-on-death (POD) designation to bank accounts. This will still give you control of all the money in your account and won’t give your POD beneficiaries any rights to the money until your death. The beneficiary can then claim the money directly from the bank without having to go through the probate process.

Won’t a Will Help Avoid Probate?

Unfortunately, a will doesn’t help avoid the probate process. In fact, the probate process will be required to authenticate the will and use it to go through the entire probate. A person would need other estate plan documents to avoid probate, such as the ones listed above.

Who Is Responsible If Probate Can’t Be Avoided?

If probate can’t be avoided, an executor named in the will or the court-appointed individual will be responsible for overseeing the probate process. The executor will be responsible for obtaining the decedent’s original will, hire a probate attorney, manage the probate process, cancel credit cards, notify government agencies of the death, and manage assets.

Las Vegas Probate Attorney

If you need assistance avoiding the probate process, or you are about to begin the probate process, our team at Hurtik Law & Associates is ready to help you. Our Las Vegas probate lawyers have years of experience helping families through long and difficult probate proceedings. We have also helped individuals gather the legal documents they need to create a comprehensive estate plan. Regardless of your unique circumstances, our legal team is here to help you from beginning to end.

Contact our Las Vegas probate lawyers today at (702) 323-5750 to schedule a consultation!

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