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Refresher: 3 things that happen during probate

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2023 | Probate

There are various reasons why the administration of a particular person’s Nevada estate might be relevant to you. Perhaps you are the adult child of the decedent and expect to receive an inheritance. Maybe someone has designated you as the executor in their will. You might also have interest in the probate process if you are planning to issue a challenge.

Before you can determine the best course of action, you must understand the basic stages of probate. What happens in each phase, and how long does it take? There may be multiple parties involved in the same probate process. One of the key issues is whether the decedent had a will. If not, then the state will determine how to distribute assets.

Step 1 in probate: Filing a petition

If a decedent signed a last will and testament before passing and named an executor, it is his or her duty to submit the will to probate. You accomplish this by filing a petition in court. If the state is aware of an estate that is intestate, meaning there is no will, a probate court judge will appoint an administrator.

Step 2 in probate: Notification of heirs and beneficiaries

The executor must inform anyone who stands to receive a portion of the estate that they are an heir or beneficiary. One typically does this in writing by mail or through publication in a local newspaper.

Step 3 in probate: Gather assets, pay debts, distribute assets

Another duty of the executor is to take an inventory of the estate, which means to compile a list of all assets and debts.  Once the value of the estate is known and you account for all assets, you may use monies from the estate to pay outstanding debts, if there are any. Finally, the assets are distributed according to the estate owner’s wishes or at the discretion of the probate court, if there is no will.

If legal complications arise during estate administration

Perhaps you believe your loved one was under duress when he or she signed or updated a will. Maybe you have evidence to show that an omission from the will was unintended, or vice versa. For any legal problems that arise during probate, it is helpful to reach out for support from someone who with experience in probate litigation.

Problematic issues often spark family discord during probate. In fact, there have been stories of siblings or other family members who permanently cut ties with one another because of inheritance issues. If you’re concerned about an estate, try to remain calm, seek clarification of Nevada estate laws, and obtain as much knowledge and support as possible so that you can make informed decisions.