By Sheriff Scott Henriod WPCSO

I recently received a phone call from a friend of mine who lives in Cherry Creek. He was wondering if I could do the Sheriff’s Corner on information related to deaths that occur in White Pine County, how there investigated and what happens to people’s property when there is no surviving relative.

The Sheriff’s Office investigates numerous deaths that occur each year in our area. We classify those deaths in two different categories. One being what is called an unattended death, which is where a person dies due to natural causes but is not under the direct supervision of a doctor (in a hospital or other care facility) the investigating deputy will investigate the scene and will contact the deceased doctor and review with him or her the decedents medical history and determine the cause of death.

The other death is classified as suspicious or homicide. These deaths are investigated to determine if a crime has been committed and if an arrest should be made. Once again the deputy will investigate the scene and the manner of death. The deceased is transported to the Clark County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Each death is different and brings its own challenges.

As far as the decedent’s property, if a next of kin is located the property of the deceased is released to that person, such as a husband or wife, son or daughter or brother or sister. The problem comes into play when several individuals put in a claim over the property. Hopefully the deceased left a will or trust and the executer of the will can be identified and take over the responsibility and procedure to distribute the deceased property.

If no will or trust is located and the property is being disputed then the property could end up in probate and a court hearing will be held. A judge will then determine who and when the property will be released to. The best advice I can give the readers of this article is to be prepared. Have a will or trust in place and advise family members that you have one and where it can be located.