Estate Planning with a Probate Attorney and No Heirs

Nevada is one of the many states in the country with strict laws about what happens when someone passes away. Your estate consists of any physical property you own. In most cases, the heirs of the deceased will go through probate to inherit those things. What happens if you do not have anyone you can leave your estate to or anyone willing to handle it? Find out what happens next and how a probate attorney can help.

How Probate Works in Nevada

If you live in Nevada and own property with a total value of $25,000 or more, probate will occur. This is also true if you own any type of real estate. The heirs usually have 30 days to file with the local court and start the process. Someone will serve as the executor. They are responsible for making sure all bills get paid and that the deceased’s property goes to anyone they named in their will. Nevada allows heirs to file for a special process if the property is worth less than $10,000.

What is an Heir?

Looking at your probate lawyers Las Vegas options is a smart idea because you may not realize that you have heirs. Heirs are people related to you who have an interest in your belongings. They usually include your spouse, children, and siblings. Nevada also recognizes former spouses as well as parents. Even if you divorced your spouse, they may have an interest in your estate. Any family members can file a claim against your estate, too. This includes nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and aunts and uncles.

Alternative Heirs

If you are the last member of your family and have no one who will claim your estate, you have the option of naming one or more alternative heirs in your will. A good example is a close friend or loved one. Many people have lasting relationships with others but never get married. Naming your romantic partner in your will ensures that they get anything you want them to get. You might leave them your house and/or business along with individual items such as jewelry or bonds. Naming a business partner ensures that the person you own a business with gets your shares.

Using a Probate Attorney for Charitable Donations

Working with a probate attorney also gives you the chance to set up charitable donations. Instead of leaving your estate to someone you know, you can leave it to an organization. A trust is just one option. This allows you to set aside funds used to cover a specific purpose for as long as the trust exists. You might endow a scholarship to a local college that helps a needy student or establish a program that sends food to animal shelters in your city.

A probate lawyer can also help you set up a charitable foundation in your name. You can appoint someone to lead the foundation before you pass away or name them in your will. That person becomes responsible for following your wishes and using the money you left behind in a specific way. You should work with an attorney if you go this route. It’s far too easy to make mistakes in your will that lead to the state taking your property before the foundation can form.

Caring for Your Pets

An estate planning attorney Las Vegas firm can help you consider things that you never thought of before such as what happens to your pets. Whether you have a single cat/dog or multiple animals, you want to make sure they receive the care they need. Without a will, your pets will likely wind up with a neighbor, in a shelter, or on the street. Pet trusts are a great option because you can designate a portion of your estate to their care. Your attorney will help you find someone to care for them and name that person in your will. They will get any of the funds you left behind to take care of your animals for the rest of their lives.

Giving Power of Attorney

Even if you don’t have heirs, you must create a will that gives someone your power of attorney. A power of attorney is someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf. This person can make decisions that benefit you when you cannot. Exercise caution when you choose someone because they often get control of your bank account as well as your business. Your power of attorney also has the legal right to decide on what to do if you are in the hospital or have medical needs.

If you plan to draft a living will, always work with a probate attorney Las Vegas firm. A living will explains your wishes and lets doctors know what you do and do not want them to do. For example, you may have a living will that includes a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. A DNR tells doctors that you do not want them to take any extraordinary measures to save your life. Even if you do not have any living relatives, you can still draft a living will and name a close friend as your power of attorney.

What Happens if You Don’t Leave a Will?

You might decide against working with a probate lawyer Las Vegas firm because you have no heirs and don’t care what happens to your estate. When you die in Nevada and do not have a will, there is no one to open probate on your behalf. Creditors can file against any property you left behind. They can petition the court to foreclose on your home and take your bank account. Any money you wanted to leave to organizations will either go to your creditors or the state. The state can also find any heirs you didn’t name and give them your property such as relatives you haven’t seen in years or cousins you never knew existed. In some cases, your assets will go to the state.

Hire a Probate Attorney

Many people die every year without any heirs. They include older people who lived longer than their loved ones did and younger people who lived alone. There are many things you can do if you don’t have heirs such as setting up a trust for your pets and leaving your property to a nonprofit organization. You can also leave your assets to your friends and neighbors. Work with a probate lawyer in Las Vegas to see what you can do to create an estate plan when you don’t have heirs.

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