Surviving spouses have important rights and benefits that are protected under Nevada law, including:
- Intestate Rights;
- Exempt personal property;
- Community Property
Nevada is a community property state. Essentially, under community property laws, each spouse owns 1/2 of the property acquired during the couple’s marriage. Gifts or inheritances from another party are excluded from the property of the community. This property is treated as separate property. Property owned by either spouse prior to the marriage is also considered separate property.
Surviving Spouse Rights in Nevada When There Is No Will – Intestate Estate
When someone dies without a will in Nevada, they have died intestate. When an estate is intestate in Nevada, distribution can be complicated because of Nevada’s community property laws.
Surviving Spouse Gets All of Decedent’s Community Property
When a spouse dies intestate in Nevada, the surviving spouse receives the decedent’s 1/2 interest in the community property.
Surviving Spouse’s Share of Separate Property
Separate property is treated differently than community property. The surviving spouse’s share of Decedent’s separate property depends on the other survivors of the deceased spouse.
All of Separate Property: A surviving spouse in Nevada receives all of the separate property if the decedent had no children, parent, or sibling. NRS 134.050.
1/2 of Separate Property: If the decedent had one child or issue of one child, the surviving spouse in Nevada splits the separate property equally with the child or the child’s issue. NRS 134.040.
If the decedent has no issue but surviving parents, then 1/2 of the decedent’s separate property goes to the surviving spouse, and the remainder is shared by the parents. If the decedent has no issue or parent, then 1/2 of the separate property goes to the surviving spouse and the other 1/2 goes to the brothers and sisters of the decedent in equal shares. NRS 134.050.
1/3 of Separate Property: If the decedent had two or more children, then the surviving spouse has the right to 1/3 of the separate property, and the remaining 2/3 goes to the decedent’s children or issue. NRS 134.040.
Surviving Spouse Rights In Nevada When There Is A Valid Will
When the decedent dies with a valid will, the terms of the will control the distribution of property. However, the decedent cannot give away the surviving spouse’s share of decedent’s interest in community property. The surviving spouse is entitled to an undivided 1/2 interest in the decedent’s community property. The remaining interest is subject to the testamentary disposition of the decedent. See Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 123.250.
Surviving Spouse Allowances and Exemptions
The surviving spouse in Nevada also has the right to stay in possession of the homestead. Nevada law also includes provisions and allowance for support of the family, and certain entitlements to the furniture and clothing within the home. See Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 146.010.