Can You View Probate Records Without a Probate Attorney?

Probate is a court proceeding that happens after a person dies. In Nevada, the deceased’s estate must go through probate if it has a total value of $20,000 or more. If the individual leaves behind a will or trust, the process will go smoothly. Probate records allow you to see the details of the trust or will. These records are public, but you may still want a probate attorney to help you go over them.

Types of Probate

The type of probate that the estate goes through will depend on its overall size. An affidavit of entitlement is available if the deceased had no real estate and the total value of their estate comes to $25,000 or less. Nevada also accepts this type of probate for estates that are worth less than $100,000 as long as the deceased’s spouse inherits it. Another option is summary administration, which occurs when the property has a value of $100,000 or less. All other estates must go through general administration.

How Probate Works

Estate planning lawyers in Las Vegas help you create a plan for the future and draft a will that the state will accept. When someone you know passes away, you need to start the probate proceedings. If the deceased had a will, it should name an executor. Otherwise, the court will appoint an administrator. The administrator will open a bank account to pay any debts or bills from the estate. They are also responsible for passing out any property that the deceased left to others in their will. Administrators receive payment for their work, which the state caps at no more than 4% of the total value of the estate.

What Are Probate Records?

Probate records refer to any type of record filed with the court. They do not always require that a probate lawyer file them though. When someone creates a last will and testament, they can file it with the court on their own. You may not even know that your loved one left behind a will until you check with the court. Even if the individual did not file a will, you will still need to go through probate if the estate has a high value.

Types of Records

A probate bond is just one of the records you might find. The person who acts as the administrator or executor may need to put up a bond that shows they will act in the deceased’s best interests. If they do not follow the wishes of the will or take any money out of the estate without authorization, the lost funds will come out of the bond. A contract regarding guardianship in Las Vegas is another example of a probate record. It states what the individual wants regarding their children. You may also find an inventory that outlines the deceased’s belongings or a petition that someone asked the court to start probate.

Information Found in Probate Records

The information that you find in probate records will depend on the type you discover. They should list the deceased’s full name, date of birth, date of death, and home address. You’ll also find the names of any dependents they had such as a spouse or children. Some records also help you learn more about any property they owned. You can easily find out if they had a home or multiple homes and if they owned any vehicles.

Are Probate Records Public?

In most cases, yes, probate records are public. As soon as the proceeding starts, the petition to open probate will appear in the public records. You can also access those records to see the deceased’s last will and testament. The county where the individual lived and/or died is the first place to start your search. If they had a family lawyer, you may want to talk with them, too. Though some assume that they can only view these records if they were named in the will, or they were a blood relative, anyone can view them.

Finding Public Records

You do not need to do a lot of work to find probate records. Start at the county level. If you do not live in Nevada or you live in a different city, look online first. Many of these records are now available online. You also have the option of asking the court to send you a copy of the records. This may require that you pay a small fee. Try visiting the court and asking for access to the public records, too. As long as you have the deceased’s name, you can view any records connected to them without hiring a probate attorney in Las Vegas.

Why Hire a Probate Attorney?

As you can view probate records online and in person, you might wonder why you should hire a probate attorney. The biggest reason is that they can help if you decide to contest the will. Nevada allows anyone to contest a will if they believe that it’s not valid. To invalidate a will, you need to show that the person wasn’t of sound mind and body when they drafted it or that it doesn’t meet state laws. If you have one will and someone else has a different copy, the court will need to decide which one is valid.

Though contesting a will isn’t easy or fast, it’s a good option for families and loved ones who know their loved one didn’t work with an estate planning attorney in Las Vegas. Does the will leave the entire estate to a new friend or caregiver? Maybe it left certain children out or does not have signatures from witnesses on it. With a probate attorney, you can ensure that everyone follows the deceased’s wishes. You may need a probate lawyer to simply explain the basics of a trust or guardianship or to see if there is anything in the will that might invalidate it.

Viewing Probate Records

There are dozens of reasons why you might need to look at probate records such as finding out whether a loved one created a will or seeing if someone established a trust in your name. Probate records are public and available in different ways. Depending on the county, you might find some records online. Other counties require that you complete a request form to access them or only let you view them in person. With a probate attorney, you get all of the help that you need to both find probate records and discover what they mean.

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