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Re-Opening A Probate
It sometimes happens that after a probate is closed an additional asset is discovered. How is this handled? Here in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, the Court requires a second probate to be filed, although the original case number will be used.
This second probate is treated as having assets equal to the newly discovered asset along with the value of all of the assets previously probated. So, for example, if there was a probate of $85,000 in assets handled as a set-aside and then that probate was closed and later another $25,000 in assets was discovered, the Court would require that the second probate proceeding be handled as involving $110,000 in assets and require a summary probate instead of treating the new probate as one handling under $100,000 in assets thereby qualifying as set-aside probate.
For this reason it is important to collect all assets before closing the probate.
The Heirs and Beneficiaries of the estate do not have to wait until all of the assets are collected to receive assets that have already been collected. Once substantial assets have been collected and notice to creditors has been published for the required time (60 days or 90 day depending on the size of the estate) and it is known that it will take some time to close the probate, the probate attorney can ask the Court for a partial distribution of assets.
We often do partial distributions when we have collected substantial assets. Sometimes we have collected all of the assets but have to hold some money back until tax issues can be settled.
The best way to learn what financial accounts are in the estate is to keep receiving the decedent's mail to see if there are statements from financial institutions. Most counties in the United States have online searchable data bases to see who is the owner of real estate. Thus it is relatively easy to go online and determine if the decedent owned any real estate in any county you think the person might own real estate in. However, there is no open data base to search to see if the Decedent had an account with Bank of America or with Charles Schwab.