Thoughts of possible death while purchasing property in the US is not typically at top of mind. Canadians are typically surprised at the legal fees, court costs, and delay of probate in Nevada. Surprises can occur where a Nevada court does not recognize a Canadian based Last Will and Testament, thus causing unexpected distributions according to Nevada law that are many times against the wishes of the deceased. Depending upon your situation, a Canadian based Last Will and Testament can be brought into compliance with Nevada law, create a Nevada based Last Will and Testament, or implement other planning techniques to avoid probate all together.
In Nevada there are two ways to get a Canadian based Last Will and Testament (Last Will) accepted into the Nevada courts. The first way most used is by default and is much more risky than the second. The first is at the time of need – after the death of a Canadian owning property in Nevada. The second is achieved through a deliberative process of conforming your Last Will that does away with uncertainty.
The first way to get a Canadian Last Will accepted in a Nevada court is at the time of need – when a probate is required to dispose of a deceased’s real property. In such cases, preliminary steps must first be taken in Canada to obtain a certified copy of the Last Will of a deceased. This usually entails obtaining a certification from the applicable court in the province where the deceased resided at death. The certified copy then must be lodged (filed) with the clerk of the Nevada court before a probate can be opened. We have seen many Canadians experience several months delays in obtaining certified copies of Last Wills when a probate in Canada has not been initiated. The delays in turn cause hassles in preserving property in Nevada until a probate can be initiated in Nevada. If a Nevada court does not accept a Canadian Last Will, then Nevada intestacy laws will determine who takes the probate property and how much is to be received. Many times how Nevada law directs to whom property shall be conveyed does not conform with the Canadian’s wishes in his/her Last Will.
The second and the wise way to get a Canadian Last Will accepted in a Nevada Court is to get it validated according to the Uniform International Wills Act (Wills Act) pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 133A. Chapter 133A establishes steps that must be followed to bring a Canadian Last Will into compliance with Nevada law. See the Nevada International Wills Uniform Act at → https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-133A.html.
Canada and the US are signatories to the Wills Act. In the US, each state must then accept the terms of the Wills Act, which Nevada has accepted under Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 133A. In this regard, for a few hundred dollars US, a Canadian based Last Will can be brought into compliance ahead of time with calm and deliberative planning. Pros and cons can be considered in deciding between bring a Canadian Last Will into compliance or if a Nevada based Last Will may be better.
At Crest Key, we have helped may Canadian’s bring their Canadian based Last Wills into compliance to ensure Nevada court acceptance.
See the blog post on International Wills at: https://crestkey.com/international-wills-act-foreign-wills-in-nevada-and-colorado-2/