The Probate Process From Start to Finish
When dealing with the probate process after the loss of a loved one in Las Vegas, it can be easy to lose track of what exactly is supposed to happen next, or what is required to keep things moving. Dealing with the loss and grief can be enough to overwhelm someone on its own, let alone adding the stress of keeping up with a convoluted legal process to make sure their estate is handled properly. There are a few things that can help make the probate process more manageable, the first being understanding what exactly the probate process entails.
What Is the Probate Process?
Probate covers the court-supervised process of verifying and authenticating the last will and testament of the deceased if one was made. This includes things such as determining the value of assets like homes or other pieces of property, as well as paying any final bills and taxes, and lastly properly distributing the remaining estate to their beneficiaries. There are a few notable steps in this process.
Verifying the Will
There will be a court hearing scheduled with all of the beneficiaries to verify and confirm the deceased’s last will and testament. So long as there are no objections to the submitted will and testament, it will be submitted as the final will and the next steps in the probate process can continue.
Naming an Executor
The judge will appoint an executor once the will has been verified. Usually, the deceased will have named one in their will, but if there is no will or no executor appointed in the will it generally falls upon the spouse or eldest next of kin to handle the responsibilities. The executor will receive letters of authority which will allow them to handle transactions related to the estate on the deceased’s behalf. It may be recommended that the executor retain a probate attorney in Las Vegas to assist with the process.
Attaining and Appraising Assets
The executor will then be in charge of locating the deceased’s assets and appraising the value. Many courts will appoint an appraiser to assist in the process, but in many cases, the executor can name someone they would like to use as an appraiser. Once these assets have been located and appraised, the executor must identify and seek out any debtors that the deceased had and settle their debts. The executor can petition the judge should they feel a claim against the estate is not valid, leaving it for the judge to decide on the validity of the claim and if it should be paid. An attorney can help with protecting the estate against fraudulent claims among other issues that can arise during the process.
Releasing the Remaining Estate
Once all debts have been paid, the executor then must petition the court to release the remaining estate to the beneficiaries as stated in the will. This can involve things such as setting up trusts for minors who cannot own property, as well as selling larger assets such as homes if the will dictates the proceeds from the sale of the property should be distributed amongst the beneficiaries.