Divided Probate Jurisdiction
How does the Nevada legal probate process treat decedent assets not within the state? The answer depends on the nature of the asset and the type of jurisdiction it confers. Treatment and disposition of some foreign assets must be by ancillary probate proceedings under the laws of the states properly exercising in rem [i]jurisdiction.
Probate of real estate always must be in the state where it exists. Probate of personal assets is in the states where the decedents resided. If probate is uncontested, the probate court needs only to read the death certificate for last residence to see whether there is in personam [ii] jurisdiction over the decedent’s personal assets.
If the decedent leaves most assets in the State of Nevada, in any case the probate process should commence there. All personal property is subject to probate in the state where the decedent died. Real property, however, requires ancillary probate. All states conduct ancillary probate processes to work remotely with executors to transfer deeds. During the ancillary proceedings, the Nevada probate court oversees the process for timely interaction.
Nevada courts may administer probate estates in the counties where decedents resided or where their properties are located. Specifically, “Wills may be proved and letters granted in the county where the decedent was a resident at the time of death, whether death occurred in that county or elsewhere, and the district court of that county has exclusive jurisdiction of the settlement of such estates, whether the estate is in one or more counties” [iii]
As a legal term, “ancillary” means not primary but secondarily essential to an outcome in a primary proceeding. As an example, if a Nevada decedent owned real estate in Florida, the primary probate proceeding would be in Nevada with an ancillary proceeding in Florida assisting the Nevada probate court in completing probate of the entire estate by including the Florida property.
Most personal representatives confronting the necessity of ancillary probate contact probate attorneys in the states where the remote property is located. Probate always commences in the domiciliary state and then opens ancillary probate proceedings wherever necessary. Acceptance of the will by the probate court in the primary proceeding leads the ancillary court to accept it as well, the parties ordinarily having resolved their conflicts and disputes in the former.
Ask an Attorney
The probate process can be confusing and difficult to navigate. If you need help, call Las Vegas probate attorney Rob Telles at 702-337-3000 to set up a consultation.[i] “Probate in Nevada is in the nature of an ‘in rem’ proceeding. In an action in rem, the court acquires jurisdiction over the estate and all persons for the purpose of determining their rights to any portion of the estate,” Bergeron v. Loeb, 675 P2d 397, 400 (NV 1984). [ii] “Domicile in the state is alone sufficient to bring an absent [or deceased] defendant within the reach of the state’s jurisdiction for purposes of a personal judgment,” 311 US 457, 462 (1940).