Additional Asset Discovered After Probate Closed
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.
What About A Small Amount of Estate Money Coming In After The Estate Closes?
Occasionally, after an estate has been closed a small amount of new money comes in. For example, the Executor receives an insurance refund check for $425 or the escrow company involved in a house sale discovers an error in favor of the estate and sends a check for a few hundred dollars. These checks are made payable to "The Estate of John Doe," for example and the Executor can't cash the checks. If we have done the probate we will simply deposit the check to our trust account and distribute it. On the other hand, if a new bank account is discovered having $80,000 in it, we would feel it necessary to file a new probate proceeding.
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.
At Reed & Mansfield, 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.
There is no federal estate tax for estates under $11,400,000 for 2019. Nevada does not impose a federal estate taxes. So in almost all cases we are talking about estate INCOME TAXES that apply to dividends, interest, rents etc. received by a person's estate after they have died.
However, most probate courts will allow a Final Distribution if the Order specifies that each person receiving money will be liable for their share of estate taxes. On the other hand, sometimes the executor or administrator doesn't want to be in the position of telling beneficiaries at a later date that they need to send money to the IRS.
In cases where the estate has INCOME TAX of more than $600 per year and therefore an ESTATE INCOME TAX is due, we can pick the tax year. For example, the person dies on May 14, 2019. We can elect that the estate's tax year is May 14, 2019 thru May 13, 2020. Thus we can increase the chances that there will only have to be one estate INCOME TAX return filed because hopefully we can close the estate within a year.
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.