Intestate Succession in Nevada

What happens if you die without a will? Learn about intestacy in Nevada.

Updated by , Attorney · George Mason University Law School

If you die without a will in Nevada, your assets will go to your closest relatives under state "intestate succession" laws. Here are some details about how intestate succession works in Nevada.

Which Assets Pass by Intestate Succession

Only assets that pass through probate are affected by intestate succession laws. Many valuable assets don't go through probate, and therefore aren't affected by intestate succession laws. Here are some examples:

  • property you've transferred to a living trust
  • life insurance proceeds with a named beneficiary
  • funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account with a named beneficiary
  • securities held in a transfer-on-death account
  • real estate for which you have a transfer on death deed
  • vehicles for which you have a transfer on death registration
  • payable-on-death bank accounts, or
  • property you own with someone else in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety.

These assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary you named, whether or not you have a will. However, if you don't have a will and none of the named beneficiaries are alive to take the property, then the property could end up being transferred according to intestate succession.

To learn more about these types of assets, go to the How to Avoid Probate section of or read about Avoiding Probate in Nevada.

Who Gets What in Nevada?

Under intestate succession, who gets what depends on whether or not you have living children, parents, or other close relatives when you die. Here's a quick overview:

If you die with:

here's what happens:

children but no spouse, parents, or siblings children inherit everything
spouse but no children, parents, or siblings spouse inherits everything
parents but no children, spouse, or siblings parents inherit everything
siblings but no children, spouse, or parents siblings inherit everything
a spouse and one child spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property

child inherits 1/2 of your separate property
a spouse and two or more children spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/3 of your separate property

children inherit 2/3 of your separate property, divided in equal shares among them
a spouse and parents spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property

parents inherit 1/2 of your separate property
a spouse and siblings, but no parents spouse inherits all of your community property and 1/2 of your separate property

siblings inherit 1/2 of your separate property

(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 134.040; 134.050; 134.060; 134.090 (2023).)

The Spouse's Share in Nevada

In Nevada, if you are married and you die without a will, what your spouse gets depends in part on how the two of you owned your property -- as separate property or community property. Generally, community property is property acquired while you were married, and separate property is property you acquired before marriage. There are a couple of big exceptions: Gifts and inheritances given to one spouse are separate property, even if acquired during marriage. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 123.130; 123.220 (2023).)

If you want to learn more about how community property works, read Separate and Community Property During Marriage: Who Owns What?

Your spouse will inherit your half of the community property. If you have separate property (many spouses mix everything together and don't have any separate property) your spouse will inherit all or a portion of it. The size of your spouse's share of your separate property depends on whether or not you have living parents, children, or siblings. If you do, they and your spouse will share your separate property. (See the table above.)

If you're concerned about this area of the law, see an experienced attorney for help.

In Nevada, the rules for married people also apply to registered domestic partners.

Children's Shares in Nevada

If you die without a will in Nevada, your children will receive an "intestate share" of your property. The size of each child's share depends on how many children you have and whether or not you are married. (See the table above.)

For children to inherit from you under the laws of intestacy, the state of Nevada must consider them your children, legally. For many families, this is not a confusing issue. But it's not always clear. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Adopted children. Children you legally adopted will receive an intestate share, just as your biological children do. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 127.160 (2023).)
  • Foster children and stepchildren. Foster children and stepchildren you never legally adopted will not automatically receive a share. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 132.055 (2023).)
  • Children placed for adoption. Children you placed for adoption and who were legally adopted by another family will not receive a share. However, if your biological children were adopted by your spouse, that won't affect their intestate inheritance. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 127.160 (2023).)
  • Posthumous children. Children conceived by you but not born before your death will receive a share. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 132.290 (2023).)
  • Children born outside of marriage. If you were not married or in a registered domestic partnership with your children's mother when she gave birth to them, they will receive a share if you acknowledged your paternity or if your paternity is proved in court. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 126.041; 126.053 (2023).)
  • Children born during your marriage. Any child born to your wife or registered domestic partner during your marriage or partnership is assumed to be your child and will receive a share of your estate. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 126.051 (2023).)
  • Grandchildren. A grandchild will receive a share only if that grandchild's parent (your son or daughter) is not alive to receive his or her share. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 134.100 (2023).)

This can be a tricky area of the law, so if you have questions about your relationship to your parent or child, get help from an experienced attorney.

Will the State Get Your Property?

If you die without a will and don't have any family, your property will "escheat" into the state's coffers. However, this very rarely happens because the laws are designed to get your property to anyone who was even remotely related to you. For example, your property won't go to the state if you leave a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, or cousins. If you have no surviving relatives, your estate escheats to the state for educational purposes. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 134.120 (2023).)

Other Nevada Intestate Succession Rules

Here are a few other things to know about Nevada intestacy laws.

  • Half-relatives. "Half" relatives inherit as if they were "whole." That is, your sister with whom you share a father, but not a mother, has the same right to your property as she would if you had both parents in common. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 134.160 (2023).)
  • Posthumous relatives. Relatives conceived before -- but born after -- you die inherit as if they had been born while you were alive. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 132.290 (2023).)
  • Immigration status. Relatives entitled to an intestate share of your property will inherit whether or not they are citizens or legally in the United States. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 111.055 (2023).)
  • "Killer" rule. Someone who feloniously and intentionally kills you will not receive a share of your property. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41B.200 2023).)
  • Stepchildren inherit when both spouses die without a will. If you have children from a previous relationship and die without a will and then your spouse later dies without heirs and without a will, your spouse's property goes to your children. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 134.210 (2023).)

Learn More

To learn more about intestate succession, read How an Estate Is Settled If There's No Will.

You can find Nevada's intestate succession laws here: Nevada Revised Statutes § § 134.010 to 134.210.

For more about estate planning, go to the Wills, Trusts & Probate section of

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