Probate

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Probate

How does probate work?

To learn how the probate process works, read our Probate Flow Chart with a Will or Probate Flow Chart Without A Will.

If I can't afford an attorney, how can I get free legal advice about probate?

On the 3rd Wednesday of each month in the Courthouse Law Library, The Second Judicial District Court Lawyer in the Library for Probate and Estate Law is held from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The program is limited to 10 places each week, so you should arrive by 4:30 pm and draw a number to determine your place in line.

You may also contact local attorneys to obtain a consultation by calling the Nevada State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 1 (800) 789-5747 for a list of attorneys accepting Probate and Trust cases. Alternatively, you use the "Find a Lawyer" link on Washoe County Bar Association website and choosing the category "Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts & Probate." Many of your questions will be answered through this initial consultation, even if you choose to continue without legal representation.

If I get an attorney to handle the case, who pays the attorney's fees?

The Estate itself pays the fees and costs for the probate, with rare exceptions. However, no fees can be paid until they are reviewed and approved by the Probate Court and a hearing is held.

What are the different types of probate cases?

  1. General Administration (or Full Administration): When the Estate's assets of have a gross value of more than $300,000.00.
  2. Summary Administration: When the Estate's assets have a gross value of more than $100,000.00 but less than $300,000.00. Summary Administration must be specifically requested and approved by the Court.
  3. Set-Aside of Estate Without Administration: When the Estate's assets have a gross value of $100,000.00 or less (may include real property).
  4. Small Estates Affidavit/Affidavit of Entitlement: When the Estate's assets have a gross value of $100,000.00 or less (spouse claimant only) AND does not include real property; or, is $25,000.00 or less (any other claimant), AND does not include real property.

How do I know which kind of probate case I should file?

Other than the reading the guidelines listed above and utilizing our Probate Flow Chart with a Will or Probate Flow Chart Without A Will, neither the Court Clerk's office nor the Probate Department can provide you with legal advice as to which process you should use (see Nevada Supreme Court Rule 44). You may research each process by reading the Nevada Revised Statutes which can be found online or in the Courthouse Law Library. Title 12 pertains to Probate, and Title 13 Chapter 163 pertains to Trusts.

In addition, you may consult with an attorney or read our Court Rules online. Rule 57 of the Rules of Practice for the Second Judicial Court specifically deals with the Probate Division.

Questions about Court Procedures

How do I get my case heard by Court?

All of the above probate case types, except the Small Estates Affidavit/Affidavit of Entitlement, must be started by filing a Petition with the Clerk, setting it for hearing before the Probate Court, and serving it upon all interested parties. The requirements of Notice, Hearing, and Service are discussed in NRS Chapter 155, and are mandatory. In nearly all cases, the Notice of Hearing must also be served on the State of Nevada, Department of Health and Human Services. In some cases, your Notice of Hearing must be published in the newspaper.

What are the rules and procedures for filing a probate case?

If you are filing a probate case in the Second Judicial District Court, please read and follow our Revised Probate Court Guidelines as well as our Local Court Rules for the Probate Division to use proper procedure for filing your case.

Are there any changes to probate law that I need to know?

If you have a probate case you are required to electronically file all documents. Click here to sign up for a FREE standard eFlex account. Mandatory efiling began January 1, 2016 by Administrative Order 2015-08.

Click here to review changes to Nevada probate law.

How do I schedule a hearing date?

To request a hearing date click here or use the blue button at the bottom of the main Probate Page entitled "Click to Schedule a Probate Hearing." It is necessary that you follow all steps for obtaining a hearing date, and that you respond to any of the Probate Department's e-mails that you may receive.

Once your hearing date is set, you should check the Calendar on Probate Department website approximately two (2) weeks prior to your hearing date. Review the Priority Code listed next to your case to see if your matter is on the Approved list, Heard list, Deficiency Heard list, or Continued to a new date. Follow the directions provided in the Revised Probate Court Guidelines.

Do I have to attend the hearing?

The Probate calendar is designed so that, if your Petition has been approved, no Court appearance is required. You should watch for a Priority Code of "1" on the website, which means you are approved. A Priority Code of "2" or "4" means that an appearance at the hearing is required. Usually any sale or transfer of real property requires an appearance on your part, and there may be other reasons for the Court to require your attendance as well.

A hearing is scheduled for my probate case; however, when I check the Calendar, my case shows a Priority Code of '4' (Deficiency Heard List). What does this mean, and how do I find out what I need to do to fix it?

If your case has a Priority Code '4' (deficient) for an upcoming hearing, then your case has problems that need to be addressed. To find out what you need to do to fix your case before the hearing, click here to review the Deficiency Report. If the deficiency is not corrected, your hearing may be vacated (cancelled) or continued to a new hearing date.

What happens after the hearing?

After the hearing, an Order is entered by the Court. Usually after the first hearing, the Petitioner is issued some type of Letters of Administration. This is your official oath and gives you the power to take actions as the Personal Representative of the Estate. You will need the Letters when you deal with agencies or institutions. You are not permitted to take any action on behalf of the Estate nor deal with its property in any way until your Letters are issued. The Court does not prepare Letters for you. You can find the Form of Letters by reviewing NRS Chapter 141.

What if I have some type of emergency that cannot wait for a hearing date?

In some instances, you may apply for appointment as a Special Administrator and for Letters of Special Administration (see NRS Chapter 140). This allows you to take certain actions with Court authority, but those actions and the results must be reported back to the Court in writing. Examples of actions allowed in a Special Administration include: entering property of the Decedent that you have been denied access to, discussing emergency financial matters with creditors or a mortgage company, and commencing a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased party.

Usually no hearing is required for appointment of a Special Administrator, although the Court has the discretion to request a hearing. The Court may require you to post a bond. After the specific tasks have been resolved, the Court's Order usually requires you to commence a regular probate proceeding within a number of weeks or months.

Your Petition for Appointment as Special Administrator must meet the requirements of any other Petition for Appointment; see NRS Chapters 136, 138, & 139.

What if I receive a Petition from someone in the mail, and I don't agree with it?

You may file a written Objection to the Petition. You may also appear at the hearing and let the Court know that you object, at which time you will be instructed to file a written Objection within a certain time limit.

Anything that you file must be served by mail upon all interested parties in the case. The Court cannot hear or consider any paper that is not filed and properly served (mailed or hand delivered) on all interested parties. Proper service usually means that they must be notified by mail of your filing.

Who can petition the Court to Probate a Will?

  1. Any person having possession of a Will shall, within 30 days after knowledge of the death of the person who executed the Will, deliver it to the clerk of the district court which has jurisdiction of the case or to the personal representative named in the Will.
  2. Any person named as personal representative in a Will shall, within 30 days after the death of the person who executed the Will, or within 30 days after knowledge of being named, present the Will, if in possession of it, to the clerk of the court.
Please see Chapter 136 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.

How do I lodge a Will?

In Person:
  1. Bring the original Will to the Court Filing Office along with proof of the date of death.
  2. Remember to make several copies of the Will to keep in your possession.
  3. It costs $15.00 to lodge a Will.
  4. The Filing Office accepts cash, money order, cashier's check, and credit card with valid ID. They do not accept personal checks.
Second Judicial District Court
Washoe County Courthouse
Filing Office
75 Court Street
Reno, NV 89501

8am-5pm Monday through Friday
By Mail:
  1. Mail the original Will to the Court Filing Office along with a letter that includes your name, address, phone number and/or e-mail address, and the date of death of the decedent.
  2. Remember to make several copies of the Will to keep in your possession.
  3. It costs $15.00 to lodge a Will.
  4. By mail, the Filing Office accepts a money order or cashier's check. They do not accept personal checks.
Mail Your Request To:

Attn: Filing Office
Second Judicial District Court
Washoe County Courthouse
75 Court Street
Reno, NV 89501

How can I find out if a Will has been lodged with the Second Judicial District Court?

  1. Click here to search the Wills database.
  2. Type the person's Last Name and First Name and click the Submit Query button.
  3. Click here to get information on how to obtain a copy of a will or contact the Filing Office at (775) 328-3110.
  4. You will need to provide the name of the decedent, date of death, and the date the will was lodged with the Court. This information can be found by searching the Wills database.
For certain older Wills, you must make a search request with the Filing Office of the Second Judicial District Court. You will need to complete a Second Judicial District Court Records Search Request Form. Judicial District Court

How can I find out if a probate case has been initiated?

  1. Click here to search the Court's database. (Case Inquiry Menu > Person Search)
  2. Type the person's Last Name and First Name and click the Submit Query button.
  3. Any cases that have been filed in the Second Judicial District Court containing the name you are searching for will appear. Look for a Case Number that begins with "PR," which is the Probate/Trust case type. Very old cases may begin with "PRCV." (Examples: PR16-00700 or PRCV87-2210)
  4. To pull up Case Information, click on the Case Number that is hyperlinked in blue next to the name.
  5. On the Case Information page, click on the arrows next to Event Information and Docket Entry Information to review hearing dates and a list of documents that have been electronically filed into the case record.
  6. If you need copies of documents, and you do not have access through eFlex the Court's electronic filing system, you will need to make a formal written request to the Filing Office (see directions below).

If a probate case exists, how do I obtain copies of documents filed?

For assistance with copies of case documents, contact the Filing Office of the Second Judicial District Court. They can be reached at (775) 328-3110.

To obtain copies you will need to write a letter, which includes the following:

  1. Probate case number
  2. Person's first and last name on the case (most likely the name of the decedent or trust)
  3. Title of the document(s) you are requesting, line number from the Docket Entry Information, and date it was filed (i.e. copy of the Petition for Final Distribution on line 13; filed 11/22/16).
  4. Your telephone number and/or e-mail address
  5. Self-addressed stamped envelope

The cost is $0.50 per page and $3.00 for a certified copy. Contact the Filing Office to determine how many pages each document contains. Fees must be in the form of a money order or cashier's check made payable to Second Judicial District Court. Personal checks are NOT accepted.

Mail your written request to:

Attn: Filing Office
Second Judicial District Court
Washoe County Courthouse
75 Court Street
Reno, NV 89501

Do you provide probate forms?

Click here for all probate forms and packets.

We do not provide forms for the following case types: Set Aside, Summary Administration, and General Administration. These are complex cases that you may want to file with professional help from an attorney.

You may also choose to use another court's probate forms as a template (e.g., Eighth Judicial District Clark County Probate Forms). However, these forms need to be edited to comply with our local court rules or the case may be rejected.

What are some of the common pleadings filed with the Court that require a hearing?

  • Petition to Probate Will and Issue Letters
  • Petition for Letters of Administration
  • Petition to Set Aside Estate
  • Petition to Settle Annual Accounting
  • Petition to Confirm Sale of Real Property
  • Petition for First and/or Final Account, and for Final Distribution
  • Petition for Instructions from the Court
  • Petition for Partial Distribution
  • Petition to Confirm Trustee and for the Court to Assume Jurisdiction of Trust
  • Petition to Reopen Estate
  • Application for Fees

What are some of the common pleadings filed with the Court that don't require a Hearing but can be submitted to the Court for review (Ex Parte)?

PLEASE NOTE that in order for the Court to act on any of the above Ex Parte requests, you must also file a Request for Submission form.

How do I know if I have to pay a filing fee for a probate matter?

Please contact the Clerk of the Court at (775) 328-3110 or review the Filing Fee Schedule.