Today we’re going to do part one of a four-part series on probate in Clark County, Nevada. Probate is the court process of transferring the decedent’s assets to the heirs. Part one is today and focuses on affidavits of entitlement. In sum, probate is all about how much the deceased individual’s assets are worth. So, depending on the assets value that dictates what type of probate you have to do in Clark County. So, I say it’s a four-part series because there’s really four general types of probate. And in part one today we’re basically talking about the lowest valued estates. An affidavit of an entitlement is something that you can do if someone passes away and all their assets combined are valued at $25,000 or under.
This also applies if there is someone that passes away and they leave behind a surviving spouse and the deceased spouse’s net worth is under 100,000. Why do we want to talk about this? Well, I think it’s an important topic because unfortunately things do happen that are unplanned. People unfortunately do pass away without an estate plan, without any plan in place and so this is one of the ways to handle their estate if they meet the monetary requirements.
For example, let’s say we have a person that passes away, they’re single, they’re not married, and they pass away and the only thing they have is a bank account with $3,000 in it. So, in order to gain access to that account, they would need a court order. This is where probate comes into play. So, if we only have $3,000 worth of assets to someone that passes away, then we can do what’s called an affidavit of entitlement. It is literally a form that you can pull up on the self-help website at the Clark County courthouse. You can also go down to the courthouse and obtain the form at the self-help center there.
Who’s going to fill out this form? Well, it’s going to be if the person passes away and there’s no will, then the court has to look to the statute to see who actually inherits. So, if this fictitious person that I’m talking about in the example passes away, they’re single, they don’t have any children or a spouse, but they leave behind their mother, then the mother inherits per the intestate succession statutes.
The affidavit of entitlement is a very short form. The most important part about it is that whoever is filling this form out and attesting to all of this information also has to attest that they don’t know of any creditors of the decedent. Whenever you do an AF, an affidavit of entitlement, the statute requires that you wait 40 days from the death before you complete it. And that is because we want to make sure that creditors have an opportunity to pop up.
So, you wait 40 days, you fill it out, you’ve got to attest that you don’t know of any creditors. If you do know of creditors, then of course the form doesn’t work because you can’t say that you don’t know them. And then we’ve got other options and it’s a little bit more complicated. But let’s say this fictitious person’s mother fills out the affidavit. They wait 40 days, no creditors pop up. Then all the person has to do is fill out the affidavit of entitlement and then you would submit it to the bank.
In this case, the only asset is the bank account and the bank would then be able to allow access to the air to obtain that money. So, the good thing about this is that it does not require court intervention. You do not need to go to court.
Visit our website for more information on Las Vegas estate planning. To schedule a complimentary, 15-minute phone consultation with our Las Vegas estate planning attorneys call (702) 850-7798, or fill out our contact form.