Probate Law

Have you heard that probate should be considered a last resort? You’re not alone. Many people push aside issues related to estate planning and consider it complicated and time consuming. We can help. The time following a loved one’s death can be overwhelming, and we want to help you decrease the burden of estate matters. Our firm understands the complicated Las Vegas probate process and can help you avoid potential pitfalls and so as to avoid unforeseen consequences.

Probate Defined

Following a loved one’s death, if there is no trust or other estate planning mechanism in place, the deceased’s estate will be placed through probate. This process determines the two major financial matters that occur when a person dies, which are to (1) pay off the deceased’s debts and (2) distribute assets to the deceased’s beneficiaries. Probate law is a complicated area of law, and can involve issues related to federal and state taxation, real estate, estate planning, competency, employee benefits, insurance and business operations. Due to the fact that probate covers so many complex areas, families usually turn to experienced attorneys for their probate legal matters. The attorneys of Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices are well-equipped to handle your probate matters.

What happens during probate?

These are the typical steps that occur during the probate process:

  • The court appoints an estate representative.
  • The representative takes an oath to administer the estate pursuant to the laws of that state.
  • The court issues the representative “letters”, which give the representative permission to act on behalf of the deceased person.
  • The representative executes an asset inventory.
  • The representative sells any real estate or other property.
  • A notice is published and sent to all creditors of the estate. This notice is typically published for two to three months.
  • The representative will pay all creditor, administrative and tax costs.
  • Any excess money and property is allocated to the heirs of the deceased. Heirs are labeled and ranked through designation by Nevada statute or by the deceased person’s will.
  • The Probate Court will then discharge the representative, and the representative is financially compensated for his or her work performed.

Is a probate attorney necessary?

Trying to complete the probate process without a lawyer can take years. With a lawyer, it often takes at least one year’s time. The lengthy process can largely be attributed to the statute that manages probate. This timeframe can be increased by unforeseen circumstances, disagreements between heirs or creditors, or IRS processes. While the probate process does take time, it will be well worth the wait as it can prevent creditors and the IRS from collecting from will beneficiaries.

What does probate cost?

The probate payment system has three main components and is similar to that of a real estate transaction. When you purchase a house, the real estate agent charges a percentage based on the value of the house, plus an hourly rate for their services and any miscellaneous charges associated with the process. Similarly, probate attorneys charge a fee of (typically) 5 percent for the value of the estate. Then, hourly fees may be added for any complicated tax issues or litigation. Finally, expenses such as documentation and publishing costs are added into the fees. If the estate’s value is extremely high, then the estate percentage charge is usually lowered, depending on how much work the estate has required. Our office will work with you in estimating the cost of probate for your situation, depending the specific facts involved in your own unique case.

The personal representative’s payment is calculated by the probate statute’s formula, using the size of the estate. Upon request to the Probate Court, a personal representative can sometimes receive further compensation for attending to complex issues, such as taxes or property maintenance.

The court system of probate contains many safeguard elements which have been put in place in order to protect the public from unreasonable charges. This safeguard requires attorneys to obtain approval from the court for their fees. As a result, lawyers are held financially accountable for their work performed.

Call Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices at (702)878-1115 to speak with an experienced Las Vegas probate attorney today.