Kolesar & Leatham provides experienced probate assistance to individuals and families in the Las Vegas region and throughout the State of Nevada. We recognize that dealing with the death of a loved one can be an overwhelming experience and we are committed to doing everything possible to help our clients get through this difficult and confusing time. When you work with our estate and tax planning attorneys we will carefully explain the probate process and do everything possible to ensure that your loved one’s assets are distributed according to his or her wishes.
Guiding Clients Through The Probate Process
The term “probate” refers to the legal process by which a court oversees the distribution of a decedent’s assets to heirs, beneficiaries and creditors. Nevada law sets forth several categories of probate proceedings depending upon the size of the decedent’s estate. These categories include:
- Affidavit of Entitlement (Small Estate Affidavit). Where an estate meets certain requirements, including a value of less than $20,000 and absence of any real property in Nevada, the assets may be passed by an Affidavit of Entitlement, avoiding the need for probate.
- Set-Aside. Where the value of an estate is less than $100,000, the estate may be set aside without the need for complex administration. While a set-aside does not involve a probate administration of the estate, a petition must be filed with the court and a hearing will generally take place.
- Summary Administration. For estates over $100,000 but not greater than $200,000, the parties may use an abbreviated summary administration process.
- Full Administration. For larger estates exceeding $200,000, a full administration (formal probate) of the estate is required.
The attorneys at Kolesar & Leatham are familiar with all levels of probate administration. We have decades of experience explaining complicated laws and guiding individuals and families through each step of the process. Our lawyers also assist personal representatives in fulfilling their legal duties while protecting them from exposure to legal liability. Our legal team works with personal representatives to ensure that they are properly documenting and managing the estate’s assets, paying all taxes, debts and other obligations, and distributing property to the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate.
When a probate-related conflict or dispute arises, our firm is fully prepared to litigate the matter in court. Our seasoned trial attorneys have extensive experience handling complex and sophisticated probate cases. We will work side by side with you to develop cost-effective litigation strategies tailored to your specific needs, concerns and objectives.
Developing Strategies to Avoid Probate
The probate process can be stressful and time-consuming. In addition to representing clients during the probate process, our estate and tax planning attorneys work proactively with clients to develop plans and strategies aimed at avoiding probate. For example, certain assets such as life insurance proceeds, IRAs, 401(k) accounts, tax-deferred retirement proceeds and other types of accounts typically do not require probate because the proceeds automatically pass to the named beneficiaries listed on the account. Our attorneys will help you take advantage of these types of instruments and assist in establishing a trust or utilizing other estate planning approaches designed to avoid the probate process altogether.