Who May Start Probate in Nevada
Often, clients who initially visit my office to discuss a probate matter are surprised to learn that several different people have the right to start probate proceedings. It is sometimes assumed the right to start probate in Nevada is limited to the personal representative named in the will, if there is a will, or to the surviving spouse.
Under Nevada probate law, the probate process begins when a qualified individual files a petition with the Probate Court to initiate probate administration and take jurisdiction of the estate. The initial probate petition can be filed by a person nominated in a will to act as personal representative, a devisee (beneficiary) named in the will or an “interested person.” NRS 136.070(1). A lot of people qualify as an interested person.
From NRS 132.185(1):
“Interested person” includes, without limitation, an heir, devisee, child, spouse, creditor, settlor, beneficiary and any other person having a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent, including, without limitation, the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services in any case in which money is owed to the Department of Health and Human Services as a result of the payment of benefits for Medicaid. The term includes a person having priority for appointment as a personal representative and other fiduciaries representing interested persons. The meaning as it relates to particular persons must be determined according to the particular purposes of, and matter involved in, a proceeding.
Any of these people can petition the Probate Court to start probate in Nevada. This makes sense. All of these people have some kind of financial interest in seeing that the probate process is initiated and completed. So, for example, if Bob dies and he owed Jim $50,000.00, Jim can initiate the probate process because Jim, through the probate process, will seek to collect on his debt.
Who May Continue Probate Administration
While the list of persons who can start the probate process is broad, only the Personal Representative or Special Administrator can actually complete the process. Those individuals are limited to the person named in a will, or, if there is no will, certain family members.