When a spouse, parent, or other family member dies, many people do not know where to turn to answer questions about that person’s property, debts, or final wishes. Whether a person executed a will or trust before death, and the extent of the deceased person’s assets will determine the answers to these questions, but most often something will need to be done in front of a court in a process called probate. Probate is designed to create a fair and transparent system for paying a deceased person’s debts and distributing their property to beneficiaries named in a will or trust, or to the legal heirs according to Nevada law. In most cases the legal title to some or all of a deceased person’s assets can only be changed through the probate process. The complexity and cost of this process can vary widely, depending upon the assets involved, their location, and whether the surviving family members are able to resolve any differences about the property. Edmund J. Gorman, Attorney at Law, Ltd., has a wide variety of experience in all types of probate cases and welcomes new clients in this area.

Here are some things you should know about probate when hiring an attorney:

  • Your loved one’s estate will be “probated” in the county where that person was a resident.
  • If your loved one owned real property in a different state, a probate proceeding may also be required in that state.
  • You may begin the probate process about a month after the death of your loved one.
  • If your loved one left a will and it is in your possession, you must file or “lodge” it with the court within thirty days in most cases.
  • If your loved one’s estate is worth less than $100,00, the estate may be handled with a simple court proceeding called a “set aside,” or it may not require court action at all.
  • If a full probate process is required, it may take six months or more before the assets of the estate may be distributed.
  • You cannot be forced to serve as personal representative (sometimes known as an “executor” or “administrator”) of an estate.
  • If you do wish to be appointed the personal representative and you are appointed, your attorney fees and costs will be paid from the assets of the estate.
  • In most cases, you should not use any property of your loved one for any reason until probate starts, and you do not need to pay the debts of your loved one until the probate process has started.
  • Sometimes, disputes between beneficiaries arise when one beneficiary believes a personal representative or trustee is not acting responsibly or legally. These can be some of the most difficult cases to resolve for either side.

Probate can be a complex and confusing process for people still coping with the loss of a family member. This is when the advice and assistance of an attorney is most indispensable. If you would like to discuss your probate situation following the death of a loved one, whether you are a potential personal representative or whether you are a beneficiary whose rights are not being respected, Edmund J. Gorman Jr., Attorney at Law, Ltd. has the experience and compassion to guide you through the process.