Who Benefits from Your Hard Work If You Fail to Create a Last Will and Testament in Nebraska?
Simple answer: your surviving spouse, unless you have kids and parents, then the property is shared.
But, before we get deep into the muck of state governance and state-controlled asset distribution for the deceased, intestacy, in short, let's backtrack a little bit.
Answer these simple questions: who would you like as the heir to your property? Have you written that down somewhere and signed that piece of paper? Should you pass away today, will that person inherit your estate as you'd like?
The truth is that most of us lack plans for the future, in this case, the afterlife. We hardly think of what could happen to our loved ones, and even when we do, we think that it’s either too early to create a will or that you don't see the need for the will. But, if you really care about those people or the fact that you have worked hard to create that state, then you will make a will, even if you will have to amend it later.
A will represents your wishes upon your death. And, in the state of Nebraska, code section §30-2326, et seq. states that the will is valid and protected by the law as long as you meet some conditions. You should be an adult acting on your own volition and of sound mind, you have to sign the will in the presence of 2 adult witnesses or at the notary public, and you must have the will in writing (includes holographic or handwritten wills). And, you have to list your beneficiaries.
What makes wills even more special is the fact that you have complete autonomy regarding what you write in the will. And, you don't have to find an attorney to get started. You can easily express your wishes by downloading a free Nebraska last will and testament form then fill it out.
If you already have a living will, we must laud you for taking that step but also warn you not to assume that the living will serves the same purpose as the last will. Your last will represents what happens after you pass away while the living will holds directives for what happens while you are alive but unable to act or make sound decisions.
A look at what happens in the absence of a last will
- As mentioned above, failing to obtain a free last will and testament in Nebraska grants the state the power to distribute your estate. Spoken wishes will not count here because of the strict intestacy laws invoked. Intestacy is when the state takes over asset distribution for a deceased party. The estate is intestate.
- The state laws indicate that your surviving spouse will inherit the whole of your estate if you don’t have any descendants.
- However, if you have kids (descendants) with the spouse, the spouse will take the first $100,000 from the estate and half of the reminder. Kids get the rest.
- If you have kids from a different relationship other than your named surviving spouse, then your spouse bags half the estate.
- And in the absence of kids, the spouse has to share the inheritance with your surviving parents.
- Without surviving kids, parents or a spouse, your siblings and grandparents will be next in line in inheriting your estate.
So, how do you protect your estate and your wishes?
First, get the free last and testament form then populate the different sections with the appropriate details.
Enter the details, or at least the names of your beneficiaries
The named persons will have a stake in your estate after your death. Name all your kids; we believe that they are the most important. If you have minor children, you could create testamentary trusts to protect them or cater for their needs later on - education is expensive, isn’t it? The trusts created with the will are irrevocable, and a trustee will manage funds.
Appoint a guardian
Wouldn’t you want someone you trust to take care of you kids should anything happen to you as a single parent or a couple? A guardian will take over parenting duties in your absence, so, reach out to the person you trust and ask if they will be your kids' guardian should anything happen. You may want to appoint a successor to the guardian.
Appoint an executor
Who do you trust to file your will with the probate, obtain authority to be the executor, manage your estate, and distribute your assets as per your wishes? Put down their name. You could also name a successor.
Property Exempted from distribution
- Elective share of a surviving spouse
- Joint tenancy property with the right of survivorship
- Proceeds from life insurance policies or your retirement account.
Changing your will
Using a codicil, you can easily change your last will and testament. A codicil allows amendment of the will following the procedure followed when creating the original will.
Revoking your last will
You can revoke your will by creating and executing a subsequent will or by destroying the will intentionally. You might want to know that in the event of a divorce, marriage dissolution or annulment, some provisions of your will, the ones in favor of your ex-spouse are revoked.
Which city of Nebraska do you call home? Lincoln, Omaha, North Platte, Grand Island, Chadron, Blair? Not on this list? Don’t worry because you can get our free last will and testament forms from any city within the state.