Understanding Non-Probate Transfers

Mary executes a will that provides for the distribution of her house (and all the furniture in the house) to her daughter. Three years later she executed a Deed upon Death which provides for the transfer of the house to her son. The Deed is subsequently filed with the Clark County Recorder. Who gets the house – the son.

A will only controls the disposition of assets which are part of the probate estate. However, the Deed upon Death is a “non probate transfer” and as a result, supersedes the will. Unfortunately, these types of inconsistencies occur all too often and can lead to a lot of hurt feelings and animosity. However, they can be easily avoided by working with an experienced estate planning attorney who will assist you in planning your probate and non-probate transfers.

Other examples of non-probate transfers include life insurance, payable on death accounts, and joint tenancy. While all of these methods avoid probate you should be aware that probate may still occur and these assets can be brought back into the estate. In the event there are creditors who remain unpaid at your death, they can open a probate and the court could compel the return of assets received by non-probate transfers within one year of the date of death. If the non-probate transfer involved real estate, the creditor can assert this action within 18 months of the date of death.

Even if it is anticipated that all creditors will be taken care of, a revocable living trust has significant advantages over other types of non-probate transfers and should always be considered.

For more than 30 years, Attorney Lee A. Drizin has practiced in the areas of estate planning, probate, trusts, guardianship and real estate matters representing clients throughout the state of Nevada.

Drizin Law is providing this information for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion as to any specific facts or circumstances. This information is based on general principles of Nevada law at the time it was created and you should be aware laws frequently change. Moreover, the laws affecting you may differ depending on the circumstances. You should consult with a qualified attorney in your own state or jurisdiction concerning your particular situation. Review of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.