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Benefits of Probate


Benefits of Probate

Losing a loved one is very difficult for all parties involved, especially those who were very close to the deceased. To make matters worse, the close friends and family have to handle funeral arrangements and shortly thereafter, they have to address the decedent’s financial situation. In many cases the financial affairs of someone who died cannot be tied up without going to court.

Probate is the court-monitored process which involves proving that a will is valid, transferring property, and settling the affairs of a deceased person’s estate. If there is no will, then a nearly identical process called “administration” is used the settle the decedent’s affairs.

As a beneficiary, you may be surprised to find out that the decedent’s assets are going to be tied up for the next four to six months, and sometimes longer. While this can be very frustrating, it’s important to understand that there are benefits to the probate process, and this is especially the case if you happen to be a beneficiary.

During probate, an executor, the person named in the will, is appointed by the court to settle the estate. Without a will, the court appoints an administrator to carry out the same functions. Executors and administrators have the responsibility to pay off debts against the estate, file and pay taxes, manage the estate assets and lastly, distribute all remaining assets to either the beneficiaries named in the will, or if there is no will, to the beneficiaries under Nevada law. The reasons why probate can be viewed as a positive thing for beneficiaries include:

  • All functions performed by the executor are monitored by the court.
  • The executor must follow probate procedures.
  • The executor must provide periodic accountings to the court.
  • The executor must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
  • The executor must account for all disbursements against the estate.

In the past, those managing estates have abused their power and squandered away estate assets, or used assets for their own personal benefit. While most personal representatives act in good faith, there have been those who acted unethically or dishonestly. With probate, all of the executor’s actions are monitored by a judge. If a beneficiary disagrees with how an executor is administrating an estate, he or she has an open forum with the court where all such concerns can be heard and adjudicated upon. If a probate court judge determines that an executor has breached their fiduciary duties, then the judge can remove the executor from their post and sometimes they can be held liable for their actions.

As a beneficiary, if you have any qualms about probate taking a long time, you can take comfort in the fact that it’s a necessary process that settles the decedent’s affairs while the court oversees the actions of the executor and ensures that he or she acts in the best interests of the beneficiaries at all times.

If you have questions regarding probate or if you need legal representation during probate proceedings, we urge you to contact a Las Vegas probate attorney from The Law Offices of Brian C. Tanko by calling (702) 420-7793 for a free consultation.