Nevada state laws control the resolution of wills in Las Vegas. The policy goal is to follow the wishes of the decedent and distribute the property left after payment of taxes and valid creditor obligations. When there is no will, the state applies the law of intestate succession and distributes property to relatives in the order of closeness to the deceased.
The Missing Heir
The probate process requires that the administrator make reasonable efforts to find every heir. This includes contacting known relatives and publication in newspapers and other means calculated to reach everyone.
When the administrator or other parties before the court cannot locate an heir to the will, the court must resolve the situation. The law treats equally the situation in which one heir is missing as opposed to the missing sole heir.
One or More Missing Heirs
If the Administrator or executor cannot find one or more of the named heirs, the court can set aside the unclaimed part of the estate and proceed to close the balance. The unclaimed property must be accounted for and put into the custody of the court. If it is not claimed within a time set, the court will transfer the property to the State Government.
If No heirs, Escheat is Possible
The heirs or legatees of a missing heir have standing under the Nevada probate rules. They can use the law of wills in Las Vegas to petition the court to get the property that could have gone to the missing heir. There is a strong preference in Nevada law to distribute the property rather than sit idle and unclaimed.
Escheat to the State of Nevada
If each of the above efforts to locate an heir has failed, then the final step is an escheat. The escheat is the taking of assets by the State of Nevada and converting them to public property owned by the state. The law of Nevada does not favor an escheat; rather the law favors distribution of assets coding to the wishes of the decedent. The law requires exhaustion of the other possible solutions before accepting an escheat.
The law offices of Sean Tanko provides expert advice and assistance with estates and wills in Las Vegas. Please call or visit online today.