Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s assets are distributed to their heirs after the estate is inventoried, and estate debts are paid. If the person had a will, their assets will be distributed according to the terms of the will by the personal representative appointed in the will. If the person died without a will, the probate court will appoint an estate administrator, and the assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. If you were named as the estate representative, either in a will or by the court, and have questions about the probate process, the Vander Laan Law Firm, LLC can help.
Nevada probate attorney Natalia Vander Laan will answer your questions, explain the probate court process, and represent you in any probate court proceedings. She will also help you take an inventory of the estate, prepare and file the necessary paperwork with the proper court, and ensure that the probate process is handled properly.
Do I Need to Open Probate?
Many people wonder, “Is probate necessary?” Except in rare circumstances, every person’s estate should pass through probate. The probate process ensures that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out and that their obligations have been taken care of. The probate court supervises the process to ensure it is handled properly, interprets documents that are unclear, and, when necessary, resolves disputes.
How Does the Probate Process Begin?
The probate process begins when someone files a petition to open probate. The person who opens probate must provide a certified copy of the death certificate and the original will, if the deceased person had one. After the probate court reviews these documents, it will issue letters testamentary, if there was a will, or letters of administration, if there is no will, and the probate process has officially begun.
How Long Does the Probate Process Last?
The time it takes to close a probate estate can vary widely depending on the size of the estate, the complexity of the assets, whether creditors have claims against the estate, and whether there are disputes between estate beneficiaries. The probate process generally lasts anywhere from a few months to a year. In exceptional cases, probate can take several years.
What Is the Probate Court Process?
The following are the general steps taken to probate an estate.
File the Petition
The estate representative opens probate by filing a petition with the probate court in the jurisdiction where the deceased person lived. The petition should include a certified copy of the death certificate and the original last will and testament, if one exists.
If the person died without a will, the petition must still be filed. The court will name an estate administrator, and estate assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.
The court will review the petition, identify the estate representative, and issue letters testamentary or letters of administration. Letters are documents the personal representative appointed by the court will show to banks, government agencies, and other institutions to prove that the estate personal representative is empowered to conduct business on behalf of the estate.
Provide Notice to Creditors
The estate representative provides notice to estate creditors. Under Nevada law, the estate representative must send notice to known creditors and publish a notice in a local newspaper to notify unknown creditors that the probate has been opened. Creditors have a limited amount of time to present claims against the estate.
Inventory the Estate
The estate representative must identify and collect assets that are subject to probate court jurisdiction, inventory them, and, when necessary, have them appraised.
Pay Creditors and Estate Taxes
Once estate assets and debts have been identified, if the estate has sufficient funds, it is time to pay estate debts and taxes. If the deceased person owned a business, the estate representative might need to liquidate the company and pay business taxes.
File Petition for Final Distribution
Once the estate personal representative has paid creditors and estate taxes, they can petition the court for permission to disburse the remaining assets as directed by the deceased person’s will. If the deceased person did not have a will, estate assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.
Once all debts and taxes have been paid and assets have been distributed, the personal representative will submit a final accounting and ask for the estate to be closed.
The Vander Laan Law: Your Guide to the Nevada Probate Process
While the probate process may appear simple, each step can present complex legal issues. In addition, the probate court will impose strict deadlines that must be followed.
If you were named as the estate executor or will serve as an estate representative, you might have a substantial amount of work to complete. The Vander Laan Law Firm is available to answer your questions and assist you with every step of the probate process.
Natalia Vander Laan takes care to explain complex probate concepts in easy-to-understand language so her clients understand what is happening with their case. Natalia spends as much time as is necessary to get to know her clients and their unique needs. She provides top-notch legal advice and representation, and has a thorough knowledge of Nevada probate law.
Learn more about Natalia Vander Laan’s unique approach to Nevada probate law. Then contact the Vander Laan Law Firm today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.