Probate & the Death of a Family Member
This is probably the most critical time of the Probate process. At this point, your goal should be to locate the decedent’s Will and marshal his or her assets to prevent any dissipation of the estate. The following steps are suggested:
1. Search for and preserve the Will and other estate planning documents.
2. If there is a Will, identify and contact the Executor named in the Will. You should make arrangements to have the original Will filed with the clerk of the court within 30 days of decedent’s date of death.
3. If there is no Will, then an Administrator needs to be nominated and approved by the court in order to proceed with the Probate. Typically, the heirs of the decedent will nominate and approve a person to be Administrator. The Administrator may be an individual or a corporate fiduciary. If an individual is selected, that person must be a Nevada resident, at least 18 years of age, and must not have been convicted of a felony. If a corporate fiduciary is chosen, like a bank or trust company, the fiduciary must be licensed to carry on such business in the State of Nevada.
4. The Executor or the Administrator should next hire an attorney to file the necessary probate pleadings to secure the assets and prevent any dissipation. At this time, the Executor or Administrator should also inventory the assets, begin investigating who the creditors of the estate may be, marshal and secure valuable assets, obtain several death certificates for asset transfers, and notify the heirs that the probate process has begun.
Not All Assets Require Probate
Only the assets that were titled in the name of the decedent at the time of his or her death need to be probated. Thus, assets held in joint tenancy, owned by a trust, or which had a beneficiary designation, such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts, will hot be subject to probate. These types of assets transfer by operation of law to the new owners. The transfer process is usually fairly simple. A form or two may need to be completed, but what is typically required is the submission of the death certificate.