Why You Need a Probate Attorney to Protect Your Will

When you exchange vows, you promise to love that person for the rest of your life. You likely expect your spouse to follow your wishes when you pass away, but this doesn’t always happen. There are many horror stories from families where a new spouse cut the rest of the family off or ignored the will. Working with a probate attorney to draft and file your will is the best way to protect your final wishes and keep your spouse from changing them.

What Is a Will?

Before you start planning your will, you should know what makes a will legal and binding. Nevada allows anyone who is 18 or older to create a will. With a probate attorney from Las Vegas, residents can show that they are of sound mind and body when they created the will. Your will must also sign your name on the bottom of the will. If you cannot sign, another person can sign on your behalf but only if they do not receive any property from you. Nevada wills must also have the signatures of two witnesses on them. The state will also accept holographic wills written by hand.

What to Include

Whether you’re married, divorced, or separated, your will should include every piece of property you own and who will inherit it after your death. Create a list of all the assets you own by yourself and with your spouse. Assets can include your home, other types of real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and vehicles. If you own sentimental items or family heirlooms, include them as well. List the name of each person who will receive each piece of property. You should also name the executor or administrator who will handle your will. Nevada also allows you to remove people from your estate. You need to name them in your will and make it clear that you do not want them to inherit anything.

Why Would Someone Change a Will?

You might decide to change your will because things changed since you drafted it. Contact an estate planning attorney from a Las Vegas office as soon as possible to draft a new document. You may want to remove your spouse when you divorce or give them a smaller piece of your estate when you separate. There are many reasons why a spouse might change your will after you die. They may feel that they deserve more than your other beneficiaries do or they think that you didn’t treat them fairly. Your spouse may believe that certain people deserve more or that someone born after you created the will deserves a share.

Can Your Spouse Change Your Will?

When you pass away, anyone who knows you can start the probate process. This requires that they file your will with the local probate court. The executor or administrator named in the document will take control of your estate. Though they may work with a probate lawyer, they can also work on their own. They need to notify your creditors of your death and follow all your last wishes. This may require giving bank accounts to one person or helping someone transfer real property to their name.

Your spouse cannot change your will. Even if they are the administrator or executor, they must follow Nevada laws. The problem is that a surviving spouse may ignore your wishes. They may even hide your file or deny that you created one. This is especially common in cases where the deceased did not file a will.

Filing Your Will with a Probate Attorney

Working with a probate attorney from a Las Vegas firm is the best way to protect your assets. An estate planning professional can run a credit check to find all the property you own. They will help you create a will that includes all your property and the names of the people who will inherit it. You can also turn to your attorney if you want to make any changes to your will such as removing a person or adding someone new.

While you can draft a handwritten will and keep it in a safe place, there’s no guarantee that your beneficiaries will both find and file it. Your probate attorney will keep a copy of the will in their office, but someone you know must find them and get a copy to file it in probate court. Filing the will yourself is the best way to protect your assets. Visit the district court or the probate court in your current city and ask to file your will. They may ask for a photo ID to confirm your identity. When you pass, your will becomes public and lets others know that you made your final wishes known. Your probate attorney can often file the will on your behalf, too.

Inheritance Laws Without a Will

While your spouse cannot legally change your will, they can hide the will to inherit your entire estate. Your executor or administrator has 30 days to file a copy of your will with the court, but the state may allow someone to file a copy later. The most recent version of your will is the one the court will accept. As Nevada is a community property state, couples automatically split any property they own in half. Not only does your spouse own 50% of everything, but they will inherit the rest if you die without a will.

Your spouse usually inherits your whole estate if you die with or without children. If you own separate property in just your name and have children, your spouse gets the joint property and splits the remaining property with your children. Spouses always get any joint items like a car that has both of your names on the title or a home that you bought after your marriage. With probate lawyers from Las Vegas, residents get help separating their property from their spouses. Though your spouse can’t change your will, they will inherit everything if no one knows you had a will.

Turn to a Probate Attorney Today

Nevada has some strict rules when it comes to wills. It’s easy to make mistakes that prevent the court from accepting yours. Anything you buy during your marriage becomes community property that belongs to your spouse when you pass. Your spouse can also ignore your will or claim they didn’t find one and inherit all your property. Make sure that you protect your assets and that they go to the right people with help from a probate attorney who will help you create a will your current or former spouse cannot change.

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