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The Las Vegas Probate Court

Clark County includes Las Vegas, Boulder City, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Mesquite. The Clark County Probate Court is part of the Family Division of the Clark County District Court, also called the Eighth Judicial District Court.

To look up probate cases on the Court's Website, go to: Clark County Courts, click on the Probate option. (If this link gets changed, and you have to navigate from a more general page, probate cases are considered district court cases and are considered family cases.) Cases can be searched by the case number, the attorney name or the file number. If using the case number, use the full case number, such as P-12-026216-E and include dashes just like I have written. (The number used as an example is fictitious; I don't want to publicize any one particular probate.) If you don't have the case number, you can do a party search. You can also search by attorney to see if a lawyer you are considering hiring has done many probates. If you search by name of the party, it should also let you know if an original will was filed under that name. (Original wills are filed separately. If a will copy is filed, it is filed an exhibit to a probate petition.)

This probate court meets at 9:30 a.m. on Fridays for most probate matters. It is located at 601 North Pecos Road, Las Vegas, NV 89101. (Don't be confused by the 89101 zip; the court is not in downtown Las Vegas.)

Most probate matters are approved (if the paperwork is in order) and the submitted Orders on these approved case pre-signed and sitting on the bailiff's desk. At the 9:30 Friday calendar the judge reads the list of approved cases. If anyone objects they must speak up when the name of the case is read and the bailiff pulls the order from the pile and the matter is heard later, either later that morning, or at a new date. After the approved list has been read, parties or their attorneys are free to pick up the approved, unobjected to Orders.

The business of making a first objection at the reading of the approved list may be appropriate where a party's first notice of the whole probate proceeding was ten days earlier. Naturally, in an on going probate case where a party has received ten days or more notice, the probate judge expects an objection to be filed with the court a at least a few days before the hearing.

Most matters must be noticed no earlier than 10 business days prior to the Friday hearing. Original wills must be filed in person (or by mail); almost all other filings are by e-filing either from the lawyer's office or from a computer/scanner at the court which you take a number to use. Documents submitted for e-filing are not automatically filed; instead the submission is electronic, but a clerk must approve the document before it is filed. For petitions beginning a probate, in December of 2012, this process was taking anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days. The court is trying to move towards rapid acceptance of e-filed documents.

A summary of filed documents in a case is available online for free. To see the actual documents either one has to go to the court in person and view them on a court computer or one has to pay a private service either a per month or a per document fee.

From my standpoint this Court deserves great praise for getting into the spirit of e-filing. Unlike many courts which require e-filing, the probate commissioner (effectively the judge) does not require courtesy copies. The court maintains an up to date on line, freely accessible, list of submitted Orders and their status, e.g., under submission, or ready for pick up, called the "The Probate Court Pick-up List." The court also maintains an online, freely accessible list of cases for the Friday hearings called, "The District Court Friday Probate Calendar List." This list says whether the court has approved a matter on the Friday calendar.

This Court is great about promptly disposing of uncontested matters. For uncontested matters the Court will let you put the matter on the calendar the first Friday that meets the notice requirement, no matter how many other uncontested probate matters are also on that calendar. You don't have to wait for an available date. If an uncontested probate is dragging on forever, it is not the Court's fault and anyone who tries to blame the Court is either ignorant or dishonest.

However, for contested probate matters, the Clark County Probate Court is choking on an overload. Long delays can occur. We need more judges for the contested probates.