What Is Probate?

Probate is a court proceeding where a decedent's estate is administered and assets are distributed to the proper beneficiaries. The court is required to rule on the validity of the decedent's will, appoint a qualified personal representative (executor) of the estate, ascertain the beneficiaries, ensure that all legitimate debts have been paid and that assets have been distributed to the proper beneficiaries.

The personal representative must:

  1. File the original will with the court.
  2. File a petition to admit the will into probate.
  3. Notify all beneficiaries and heirs of the decedent of the court hearing.

Upon approval of the petition by the court, the personal representative must then:

  1. Publish a notice to creditors for four consecutive weeks in a proper newspaper.
  2. Obtain appraisals on all real property.
  3. Prepare and file an inventory of all estate assets.
  4. Ascertain legitimate debts of the estate.
  5. Liquidate estate assets as required to pay all legitimate debts.
  6. Hire an accountant to prepare and file an income tax return for the decedent for the partial tax year from January through the date of the decedent's death.
  7. File a tax return, if required on income earned by the estate during administration.
  8. Prepare and file an accounting of all income and expenses of the estate.
  9. Prepare and file a report of the administration of the estate and set a time for a hearing.
  10. Notify all heirs and beneficiaries of the hearing.

Upon approval of the personal representatives accounting and report of administration, the personal representative then:

  1. Distributes the assets to the proper beneficiaries.
  2. Obtains receipts from the beneficiaries and files these with the court.
  3. Submits an order to the court for a discharge of the personal representative from his or her administration of the estate.

Sounds easy? Not really. Therefore we encourage our clients to create and fund a living trust. Doing so will save your loved ones a great deal of time, money and hassle involved in probating an estate.

Contact Robert L. Bolick to schedule a consultation today. With more than 30 years of experience as an estate planning attorney, Mr. Bolick knows how to effectively serve your individual needs. Reach him at 702-690-9090.

What Are The Requirements For Probate?

Very simply, there are three requirements for probate. If all three are met, your estate must be probated.

These are: (1) your total assets exceed $20,000; (2) the assets are titled in your name; and (3) you pass away.

How Can I Avoid Probate?

Very simple: (1) own less than $20,000 of assets; (2) make sure the assets are not titled in your name only; or (3) don't die. Since the first and third option are not viable, the best way to avoid is with proper estate planning.

Does a will avoid probate?

No. A will is your direction to the probate court on how you want your estate administered.

Doesn't joint tenancy avoid probate?

Joint tenancy is a deferral rather than a probate avoidance. Probate is merely deferred until the surviving joint tenant passes away.

Can't I simply add my children on my property and accounts as joint tenants after my spouse passes away?

You can, but it's not recommended. Why? By adding anyone on title to any of your assets you subject yourself to any creditor of theirs. If your child gets divorced, has an accident or is sued for anything, you may have just had your home liened or your bank account cleaned out, etc.

Supporting You During Difficult Times

Schedule a free consultation with Robert L. Bolick, a supportive, well-respected probate and asset protection lawyer. Mr. Bolick represents individuals, families, business owners and private professional in Summerlin and throughout Las Vegas.

Contact our firm online or call our office at 702-690-9090.