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The Clark County Probate Court requires that all documents (except for original wills and certain other documents) be e-filed. This is usually done through Wiznet, a for-profit company, that charges $3.50 to file each document in addition to any court fees. (From February to August, 2010, the filing fee was $6.00 per document.) Documents may be e-filed at the Courthouse thereby by-passing the Wiznet charge; however, there are often long lines to do this. (At this time Clark County is the only one of Nevada's 17 counties to require that all probate filings be done by e-filing. Clark County's five biggest cities are Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Henderson, and Mesquite. Washoe County, which contains the cities of Reno and Sparks, has an e-file system but is still allowing filing by mail.)
In addition, Court filing fees must be paid through Wiznet/Odessy using a credit card and Wiznet charges 3% on top of whatever fee the Court charges, if the fee is due when a document is filed and the filing is through Wiznet. Again, this 3% charge can be avoided by filing at the Courthouse and paying in cash or with an attorney's check. But this is a time consuming process. Also, for e-filing at the Courthouse, the lawyer or his or her employee must feed each page into the Courthouse's scanner, and then verify that all the exhibits got filed correctly and that the scanner didn't miss any pages. This process is more comfortably done in the office and comfort reduces the chances of making mistakes. For these reasons we almost always do our e-filing from our office. (Lawyers are supposed to be called first for the e-file at the courthouse line, but, of course, their employees get no such special treatment so there is no cost-effective way to beat the Wiznet e-filing charge.)
The flat fees we charge upfront for our timeshare and set aside probates (estate value is less than $100,000) include any of these additional fees just discussed, along with postage and copying charges. For probates of estates worth $100,000 or more, where we don't get paid in advance, we will simply pay and pass on to the estate any of these fees.
When We e-file at the Courthouse:
The Wiznet filing/Clark County filing system does not result in automatic filing once the document is submitted. Instead, the document is electronically received and then the court clerks either quickly or days later review the document and either approve it or reject it for filing. If it is approved, the filing date stamp is the date it was submitted for filing, not the date of approval. Approval times for e-filings have been getting better as the Court adopts to the new system but can slow to several days if the clerk's office is short-handed as can be the case during flu or holiday seasons.
When certified copies of a court order are required we occasionally go to the courthouse to file and then request certified copies on the spot in connection with the filing. If the clerks are not real busy they will usually accommodate this request; however, they can also refuse to instantly review the document for approval and advise that the document must go into the line of documents waiting to be reviewed. Generally, the clerks will only offer instant in-person filing to attorneys, not to their secretaries or runners or paralegals.
Likewise if we need something else in a hurry such as a court order to open a safety deposit box to determine if there is a will, we may go the courthouse to e-file the petition asking for the court order to open the safety deposit box. We then ask if the court clerks will instantly approve the petition for filing so that we can then deliver a file-stamped copy of the petition along with a proposed order to the judge, who,if in, may review the petition on the spot and sign the order. Needless to say, we appreciate it when the court clerks accommodate these requests and we make these requests sparingly so as to not wear out our welcome.