clooue up of probate court case docket and gavel - avoid probate concept

Probate is the court-supervised process of settling a deceased person’s estate. The estate representative must locate the deceased person’s assets, pay legitimate debts, and transfer property to the people the deceased person intended to have it.

Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, probate can be expensive and time-consuming. Your family members will need to meet with lawyers, possibly attend court hearings, and arrange for the distribution of your estate.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid probate in Nevada. By managing and titling your assets properly, you can avoid probate and your heirs and beneficiaries may never need to set foot in a courtroom to receive their inheritance.

Why Avoid Probate?

In some circumstances, probate is an important process. Probate provides estate heirs with certainty that all estate assets have been properly accounted for and that estate debts have been satisfied. Court supervision provides accountability and ensures that estate assets are inventoried and properly distributed. This can be particularly important if the deceased person died without a Will.

But in many situations, there are advantages to avoiding probate. By avoiding probate, your beneficiaries will not need to seek court approval to transfer assets or operate your business. And they can avoid the expense and time-consuming nature of probate.

People also wish to avoid probate due to privacy concerns. Probate filings are public records, meaning anyone interested in seeing what was filed in a probate proceeding is free to look or attend the court proceedings.

There are situations when probate is beneficial. But in general, unless you have a specific reason to want your estate to go through probate, many people prefer to try to avoid probate.

What Assets Do Not Pass Through Probate?

Non-probate assets do not pass through probate. These assets include life insurance benefits and retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries, jointly owned assets, accounts designated as Transfer on Death (TOD) or Payable on Death (POD), and assets placed in a trust.

Life Insurance Benefits

A life insurance policy is a contract between the policyholder and the insurance company. Because the contract specifies who will receive the life insurance benefits, life insurance benefits do not pass through probate.

IRAs, 401(k)s, and Retirement Accounts

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k) accounts, and other retirement plan proceeds pass directly to the designated beneficiaries. Like a life insurance policy, payment is agreed upon in advance, and the assets do not pass through probate.

Jointly Owned Assets

Joint assets do not pass through probate. Assets are jointly owned when two or more people hold ownership together. For example, married people often hold assets jointly, such as jointly owned real estate, motor vehicles, and bank accounts. Jointly owned property does not pass through probate.

TOD and POD Accounts

Bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and brokerage accounts may include a Transfer on Death (TOD) or Payable on Death (POD) designation. When the owner dies, the asset transfers to the named beneficiary without the need to pass through probate.

Trust Assets

A living trust is a common estate planning method for avoiding probate. The trust-maker places assets in the trust and has access to them during their lifetime, almost as if they owned it outright. When the trust-maker dies, the trust directs the distribution of the assets, much like a Will. However, because the trustee holds title to the trust assets, assets placed in a trust do not pass through probate.

Does a Will Avoid Probate in Nevada?

A Will does not avoid probate. It is a common misconception that probate only applies to people who do not have a Will. Even though a Will names an estate executor and estate beneficiaries, assets held in the name of the deceased person must still pass through probate before title can be transferred.

When a person dies, their Will must be admitted to probate. The Will then serves as a roadmap for the probate court as they oversee distribution of the deceased person’s assets.

Contact The Vander Laan Law Firm to Avoid Probate in Nevada

Probate can be an expensive and time-consuming process. While probate is beneficial and important in certain circumstances, many people find it advantageous to avoid probate.

Natalia Vander Laan is an experienced Nevada probate and estate planning lawyer. She will carefully analyze your situation and prepare an estate plan so you can avoid probate.

The Vander Laan Law Firm has offices conveniently located in Minden and Carson City, Nevada. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how Ms. Vander Laan can help.

Categories: Probate