Probate is the legal process of settling a decedent’s estate and transferring property to devisees or heirs entitled to receive it. In Nevada, probate proceedings are overseen by the district court of the county where the decedent resided at the time of death (NRS 136.010). Laws governing wills and decedent’s estates are codified at Title 12 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.
Several factors determine the length and complexity of probate, including how the decedent held title to property. When title is vested in the decedent’s sole name or as a tenant in common, the property is subject to probate. Non-probate transfers include property titled with a survivorship interest, in a trust, or with a beneficiary designation. For estates meeting certain criteria, Nevada offers probate alternatives; consult a lawyer for guidance.
Following the death of a Nevada resident, probate is initiated by delivery of the decedent’s will, if applicable, to the court, and petition of the court for probate. The personal representative named in the decedent’s will or any other interested person, as determined by NRS 132.390, may petition for probate.
To commence administration of the estate, the court issues Letters to the personal representative, appointing and authorizing him or her as the estate’s fiduciary. The personal representative (PR) may be referred to as an executor when nominated in a will and appointed by the court, or an administrator when not designated by a will and selected by the court (NRS 132.130, 132.040). For an intestate estate, (when the decedent dies without a will) the priority for appointment as the personal representative is established at NRS 139.040.
The total value of the decedent’s estate determines the appropriate category of administration, whether summary or general. All probate matters, regardless of category, are subject to requirements to provide notice for hearing the petition for probate and notice to creditors, pursuant to NRS Chapter 155. Notices for probate hearings are typically mailed to interested parties, while notices to creditors are published in a newspaper of common circulation.
Among the PR’s powers, he/she has the right to possess the decedent’s property until the estate is settled or delivered by order of the court to devisees or heirs (NRS 143.020). In administering the estate, the PR may be required to sell the decedent’s property to pay debts, devises, family allowance, or expenses of administration.
Prior to sales of real property, the personal representative is required to publish notice pursuant to NRS 148.220, unless the decedent’s will includes a power of sale or directive to sell, or waiver is obtained from each heir or devisee. With some exceptions, sales must be confirmed by the court within 30 days, or otherwise vacated by the court (NRS 148.060). If the decedent left a will directing the sale of property or giving a power of sale, the personal representative may proceed without notice, but must still petition the court for confirmation of the sale (NRS 148.080).
The instrument used to convey a decedent’s real property is a fiduciary deed. The personal representative (PR) is an individual with a fiduciary obligation to distribute the decedent’s assets in accordance with the will, if one exists, and following the relevant laws. Letters issued by the court authorize the PR to administer a decedent’s estate using probate.
Executed by the PR, the personal representative’s deed conveys to a grantee/purchaser “all the right, title, interest and estate of the decedent in the property at the time of the decedent’s death” (NRS 148.280). In addition to referencing the decedent’s name, the case number, and the judicial district overseeing probate of the estate, the deed of sale must make a reference to the order confirming the sale, and must be in compliance with the requirements established at NRS 148.280. Record both the deed and a certified copy of the order confirming the sale in the county recorder’s office of the county where the real property is located.
After final accounting, the PR may distribute what remains of the estate to devisees or heirs. Chapter 134 establishes who is entitled to succeed to an interest in an intestate estate. Following a petition of the court for order to convey, transfer, or deliver property (NRS 148.410) and subsequent order for distribution, the PR records a deed of distribution as proof of the distributee’s succession to the decedent’s interest in real property. The deed of distribution is similar to a standard PR deed, except that no consideration is made for the transfer. A copy of the order for distribution must be recorded alongside the deed of distribution in the office of the county recorder in the county where the subject parcel of property is located (see NRS 151.110)
Related Nevada Probate Documents:
The information provided above is not a substitute for legal advice. Consult an attorney licensed in the State of Nevada with questions regarding probate procedures in that state.