Many people believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. But nothing could be further from the truth. Estate planning is for everyone, and there are many reasons everyone should have a Will. When a person dies without a Will, Nevada law defines who will receive your property.
A person who dies without a Will is said to have died intestate. When this happens, local intestacy laws apply and dictate how their property will be divided. Nevada intestacy laws apply to any property owned within Nevada, including assets such as bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets. If the deceased person held real estate in a different state, that property will be divided according to the intestacy laws of the state in which the real property is located.
Nevada Laws for People Dying Without a Will
Nevada intestacy laws commonly apply when a person dies and: is married with no children; has children but not married; is not married and has children; or is single and childless.
Married with No Children. If the deceased person was married but has no children, their spouse receives the community property and half of their separate property. The other half of the separate property is divided between their parents. If their parents died but they have siblings, their spouse receives one-half of the separate property, and the other half is divided equally between their siblings.
Married with Children. If the deceased person was married and had children, their spouse inherits any community property. Separate property will be divided between their spouse and children.
Community property is jointly owned by a married couple. Assets that were acquired before marriage, after a divorce, by gift or inheritance at any time, or in a marriage with separate property funds are separate property.
If the deceased person had one child, their spouse receives one-half of their separate property and their child receives the other half. If the deceased person had two or more children, their spouse receives one-third of their separate property, and the remaining two-thirds are divided equally between the children.
Children but Not Married. If the deceased person has children but is not married, their assets are divided equally between the children.
Single Without Children. If the deceased person was single and childless, their parents receive their property.
Do Nevada Intestacy Laws Recognize Domestic Partnerships?
Prior to the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell, which held that same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional, people in same-sex partnerships had the option of entering into a domestic partnership. Now that marriage equality is a federal law, domestic partnerships are less common. Nonetheless, Nevada continues to recognize domestic partnerships and treats a domestic partner like a spouse.
What About People Who Are Cohabitating?
Dying intestate can be extremely difficult for people who cohabitate but are not married. Intestacy laws only recognize relationships by blood, marriage, or adoption. For couples who are cohabitating but are not married or in a formal domestic partnership, the surviving partner typically does not have a legal right to property unless there is a Will.
Property That Transfers Outside of Probate
Some assets do not transfer through probate. These are known as non-probate assets. Real estate can be a non-probate asset if it is owned as a Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship, as Community Property with a Right of Survivorship, or if the owner has executed a Dead Upon Death.
Other assets, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts, can be conveyed outside of probate to a named beneficiary.
The Vander Laan Law Firm Can Meet Your Probate and Estate Planning Needs
If someone you love died without a Will, their estate still needs to go through probate. The Vander Laan Law Firm, LLC can assist by preparing the documents required to probate the estate.
With offices in Minden and Carson City, Nevada probate attorney Natalia Vander Laan stands ready to help meet your estate planning needs.
Learn about Natalia Vander Laan’s unique approach and read answers to Frequently Asked Questions, then contact the Vander Laan Law Firm today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how Natalia Vander Laan can help.