Tools to Avoid Probate & Maximize Your Estate. Tanko Law :: (702) 367-6636
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Tools to Avoid Probate & Maximize Your Estate

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Probate is a court-monitored process which involves proving the validity of a will, transferring the decedent’s property, and settling the affairs of the estate. If the decedent died without a will, then a similar process called “administration” is used to settle the estate.

In Nevada, probate is supposed to be opened as soon as possible following a person’s death. Under state law, if the person’s assets exceeds $20,000, or if there is real estate involved, then probate or administration will be required. The person in possession of the will is required to deliver the will to the clerk of the district court within 30 days of the person’s death.

When the deceased person’s estate is worth more than $20,000, or if real estate is a part of the estate, then probate or administration must be used. However, if the assets subject to probate do not exceed $100,000 exclusive of liens, then a petition can be filed with the court by a beneficiary or heir that may allow the estate to be “set aside” and distribution made without further involvement of the court. In this case the petitioner will receive a court order directing the distribution of the estate’s assets.

Strategies that Can Save Time, Money & Hassle

Probate court proceedings are known for being long, complicated and costly; therefore, it’s no wonder why probate avoidance is often a strategic part of estate planning. In Nevada, you have different options for avoiding probate, some of which include:

  • Living trusts, which allow you to avoid probate for various types of assets such as real estate, bank accounts, vehicles etc.
  • Joint ownership – through the “right of survivorship” the surviving owner automatically owns the property when you die and no probate is necessary for the transfer of property.
  • Payable on death bank accounts (POD) are bank accounts which designate a beneficiary. While you’re alive you have full control of these accounts; however, once you die, your beneficiary can claim the money directly from the bank without having to go through a probate court proceeding.
  • Transfer-on-death registration for securities – Under Nevada law, you can register stocks and bonds in transfer-on-death form; this is a common way for people to hold brokerage accounts. If you register an account in beneficiary form, then the beneficiary that you name will inherit the account automatically upon your death.
  • Transfer-on-death registration for automobiles – With these, the beneficiary you name will automatically inherit your vehicle upon your death and no probate court proceeding is necessary.
  • Non-probate assets are various contracts which permit designation to one or more beneficiaries, these include life insurance, retirement accounts, IRAs, Keoghs, annuities, some buy-sell agreements related to business entities, and other retirement benefits. Non-probate assets are not subject to probate proceedings.

Probate avoidance through establishing trusts and certain types of non-probate assets are strategies commonly used during the estate planning process to maximize an estate’s assets. For further information regarding the tools available to avoid probate, please contact a Las Vegas probate attorney from The Law Offices of Brian C. Tanko today!

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