If you have not previously signed estate planning documents, your property will still be distributed upon your death, perhaps just not in the manner you would choose.
Estate planning is a simple term that includes the following:
- Identifying the assets you own and confirming how your accounts and property are currently titled;
- Identifying the people you want to receive your property or benefit from your property upon your death;
- Estimating the death taxes that may be due upon your death and exploring ways to minimize those taxes;
- Identifying any charities you would like to benefit;
- Determining who you would like to manage your property and finances in the event you are unable to do so;
- Determining who you would to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to do so;
- Prepare the documents needed to accomplish your goals.
By planning your estate, you are able to:
- Eliminate (or reduce) the federal estate tax;
- Provide for minor children, or children and grandchildren with special needs;
- Account for complicated family situations;
- Select the persons you desire to manage your affairs if you become disabled;
- Ensure a seamless transfer of ownership and management of your family business;
When you establish an estate plan, you provide your family with the instructions they need so that they know your desires and they are able to effectively and efficiently carry out the plan that you designed. That peace of mind is priceless.
The most common documents we prepare include:
- Last will & testament
- Powers of attorney
- Living revocable trust
- Irrevocable trusts
- Special needs trust
- Family limited partnership
- Prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation agreements
- Health care powers of attorney and Living wills
As a client of our firm, we welcome your follow-up questions and are happy to provide you with the information you need to become comfortable with the estate planning process. If you decide to engage us to prepare your estate plan, after the plan is in place we encourage you to contact us if you acquire new property or if there are changes in your family, to ensure that your estate plan documents are always up to date.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
When a person is unable to make decisions about their care, living situation, finances, or property, and there is no plan in place, it may become necessary to seek a court-appointed guardian and/or conservator. Court-appointed guardians/conservators manage the personal and/or financial affairs of vulnerable persons who can no longer make decisions for themselves. The role(s) of the guardian and conservator is defined below:
- Guardian: Person(s) appointed by the court to make the personal decisions for the incapacitated or underage person, also known as the ward. The guardian has authority to make decisions about such things as where to live, medical decisions, training and education, etc.
- Conservator: Person(s) appointed to make financial decisions for the protected person. The conservator typically has the power to enter into contracts, pay bills, invest assets, and perform other financial functions for the protected person.
We represent family members who seek to have a guardian or conservator for a family member or loved one.
Probate and Post Death Trust Administration
Estate and trust administration is the legal process by which assets from a deceased person are distributed among the beneficiaries. Because each person is unique, so is each probate or trust administration proceeding. Some people desire to live a simple life, and the manner in which their estate passes reflects their penchant for simplicity. Others have unique concerns and issues that affect the manner in which their estate is distributed following their death. Some do not prepare or sign an estate plan and their assets are to be distributed to their “heirs at law” as determined under the Nebraska intestacy statutes. We have decades of experience administering estates and trusts and use that knowledge and experience to address any and all issues that arise following the death of a loved one.
Our firm offers representation for litigated matters involving will and trust contests, breach of fiduciary duty actions, fiduciary fee disputes, will and trust construction, and trust modifications and terminations.