What is General Administration in Nevada?

By January 18, 2017Probate
Picture Probate Court - General Administration - Reno, NV

This is part of our blog series on the types of probate proceedings in Nevada.

In a previous blog article, we answered the question “What is probate?” and learned there are four different levels of probate proceedings in Nevada depending on the value of the Estate. This article will focus on the highest level of probate, which is known as “General Administration.” If you have lost a loved one and have questions about probate, please contact us to schedule a free consultation with our Reno probate attorney.

What is General Administration?

“General administration” is a type of probate proceeding in Nevada. Although estates of all sizes can use the general administration proceeding, it’s typically only used for estates that have a value of more than $300,000. This is because general administration takes many months to complete and costs thousands of dollars in attorneys fees and court costs.

Frequently Asked Questions About General Administration in Nevada

What does general administration accomplish?

Like all forms of probate in Nevada, the ultimate goal of general administration is to settle the affairs of someone who has passed away. This usually includes:

  • Determining if the decedent’s Last Will and Testament is valid (if there is one);
  • Identifying and gathering the decedent’s property;
  • Making arrangements to pay the decedent’s debts; and
  • Distributing the decedent’s property to his or her heirs (if anything is left over after paying the debts)

In general administration, all of this happens under the supervision of a judge in Probate Court. The judge makes sure that the decedent’s estate is handled properly and according to the law.

How does general administration work?

General administration starts with the filing of a “probate petition” in the county probate court where the deceased person lived. The petition is typically filed by a relative of the deceased person, such as a surviving spouse or adult child. Most people choose to hire an attorney to draft and file the petition, as well as take care of the other procedural requirements of the general administration process.

After the probate petition is filed and accepted by the court, a hearing will be held to appoint someone as executor of the estate. The executor is the person who will administer the deceased person’s estate throughout the probate process. It’s a position that carries a lot of responsibility and potential liability for mistakes, so becoming the executor is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Note that in Nevada, the executor is used only if he or she was nominated by the deceased’s will. If there is no will, then the executor is referred to as an “administrator.”  For purposes of this article, they are used interchangeably.

The executor will then publish a notice in the local newspaper requesting that all creditors of the deceased person come forward and make a claim for repayment. This is a very important step in the general administration process because any creditors who do not come forward within 90 days will be forever barred from receiving payment from the estate. Note: In a summary administration proceeding, the creditor period is just 60 days instead.

The next step in the general administration process is to figure out which creditors to pay and then how to distribute whatever is left over to the deceased’s heirs. The executor may request approval from the probate court to sell some of the deceased’s property in order to raise cash for this purpose.

Once all creditors with valid claims have been paid and the assets of the estate distributed to the deceased’s heirs, the executor will give a final accounting of the estate to the probate court. This allows the probate court to review every transaction and make sure that everything that needed to be paid was paid and everyone that was supposed to receive property from the estate received it. Upon approval by the court of the final accounting, the estate is deemed closed and the probate process finished.

It’s important to point out that the above summary of the general administration is very broad and leaves out a considerable amount of detail. It’s intended only to provide a broad outline of the probate process and should not be used as a guide for doing it yourself.

How long does it take to complete?

General administration is not a very quick process. The amount of time it takes to complete ultimately depends on the complexity of the estate and whether anyone contests the deceased person’s will.
A quick general administration proceeding will typically take 6-9 months. If anything happens to delay the proceeding, such as a contest will or difficulty paying creditors, the timeline can easily exceed one year.

How much are attorney’s fees for general administration?

Attorneys fees are often pretty significant for a general administration in Nevada. This is because there are numerous legal filings and court appearances that must be made throughout the process. Most probate attorneys in Nevada follow the statutory fee guidelines laid out in NRS 150.060, which are based on a flat percentage of the estate’s value:

  • For the first $100,000, at the rate of 4 percent;
  • For the next $100,000, at the rate of 3 percent;
  • For the next $800,000, at the rate of 2 percent;
  • For the next $9,000,000, at the rate of 1 percent;
  • For the next $15,000,000, at the rate of 0.5 percent; and
  • For all amounts above $25,000,000, a reasonable amount to be determined by the court.

Note that the above fee schedule does not include costs such as filing fees and appraisal reports, which are extra. Also, the above fee schedule does not include “extraordinary services” which typically includes will contests or litigation of creditor claims.

Conclusion

General administration in Nevada is a long and expensive process. However, it is designed to make sure that everything in the decedent’s estate is handled fairly and correctly. Following all of the notice and filing requirements designed for this purpose can be very difficult. I would caution anyone who is considering going through the general administration proceeding without an attorney. There are several forms of probate that can be handled without an attorney’s help, but general administration is not one of them.