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Distribution of Assets

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Distribution of Assets

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In Nevada, there are various factors that affect what happens to someone’s estate when they die. For example, factors such as the existence of a spouse, children, real estate and a will or trust will all have an impact on the distribution of assets, as well as the size of the decedent’s estate. In most cases when someone dies, their loved ones will have to go to court in order to settle the estate; this process is called probate.

Probate is a court-monitored process which involves proving a will, transferring property, and settling the affairs of the deceased person’s estate. Under Nevada law when the decedent’s assets exceeds $20,000, or if real estate is involved, probate or administration (when there is no will) is required. However, if the value of the estate is less than $20,000 or if there is no real estate involved, then probate may not be necessary and the heirs may use a form called an Affidavit of Entitlement which permits the release of the person’s assets such as those from a bank, stocks or a pension.

If the decedent’s assets are worth more than $20,000, or if real estate is a part of the estate, then probate or administration is required. However, if the decedent’s probate assets are less than $100,000, then the court may allow for a special petition that may allow the estate to be “set aside” and distributions made without the need for any further court proceedings.

If the estate is worth more than $100,000, but does not exceed $200,000, then the estate must proceed through what is called “Summary Administration,” which is a simplified probate procedure. If the estate is worth more than $200,000, then “General Administration” is required. In a routine probate proceeding, you can expect it to take from 120 to 180 days on average, but sometimes it can take longer if there is a will contest or if real estate property has to be sold.

Asset Distribution Under a Nevada Trust

Often times people will establish revocable living trusts or irrevocable trusts in order to reduce their taxable estate and avoid probate. Those assets that are held in a trust avoid the probate process because when the trust maker dies, the trust assets pass automatically to the beneficiaries named in the trust; therefore, probate is not required to complete the transfer of trust assets. With a trust, the trustee is responsible for following the directions for asset distribution outlined in the trust agreement and for acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust.

In the absence of a will or a trust, when someone dies with real property or any measurable assets, then their assets will be distributed according to Nevada’s intestate succession laws, which are the laws that apply when no will exists.

For further information about asset distribution, contact a Las Vegas estate planning lawyer from The Law Offices of Brian C. Tanko today!