When To Avoid Probate?

When To Avoid Probate?

Frequently, estate planning attorneys are asked about probate, and what it is.  Basically, probate is the court-supervised process for distributing a deceased person’s assets.  When a person dies owning real estate in his or her name, or with assets over a certain value, their estate is usually subject to probate.  However, probate is sometimes thought to be a time-consuming or difficult process.  Many people seeking estate planning advice ask: “Can I avoid probate” or “Should I avoid probate?”  The answer to those questions will be “It depends.”

Probate serves an important function.  If you have a will, probate makes sure your assets are distributed to the people you want to receive them after you die.  Otherwise, if you die without a will (called intestacy), probate makes sure your assets are distributed to those people who are supposed to receive them under Nevada law.  However, depending upon the value of your assets and the types of assets you have, there are situations in which your family may benefit from avoiding probate.

Probate in Henderson, NV

When someone dies, probate is the court-supervised process of administering the deceased person’s estate. When the deceased person’s assets exceed $25,000, or real estate is involved, probate will be required in Nevada. Although probate serves the goal of distributing a person’s assets after death, it is sometimes tedious, expensive, time-consuming, and public. Administering estates subject to probate can sometimes take up to a year or more. 

Probate is a public process that exposes the deceased person’s financial situation, family situation, and final wishes to the general public.  Furthermore, depending upon which Nevada county the probate is filed in, many courts have moved to online filing systems for probate cases.  With this change in procedure, the general public has been able to view and contact members of a deceased person’s family regarding assets in the estate.  However, there are ways to avoid probate, in some cases.  An estate planning attorney can sometimes assist with creating an estate plan to protect the family’s privacy and prevent these situations from occurring.

How Estate Planning Can Benefit YOU

There is a common misconception that a Last Will and Testament will avoid probate.  It is important to consult an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss whether a will is your best estate planning option or if another possibility, such as a trust, may minimize the financial impact on your estate and make things easier for your loved ones.

The team at Dempsey Roberts & Smith, LTD. aims to make the estate planning process as easy for you as possible. Our Henderson estate planning lawyers at Dempsey Roberts & Smith can assist you by identifying your needs, suggesting estate planning documentation, and taking the necessary steps to create these documents to be legally effective.