What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Nebraska? - Boyum Law
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What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Nebraska?

What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Nebraska?

As an estate planning law firm, Boyum Law strives to help others create documents that provide peace of mind and clarity during life’s most difficult situations. Creating estate planning documents, such as a last will and testament, provides many benefits. These benefits include the ability to indicate in advance how you would like your assets distributed when you die. But what happens if you die without a last will and testament in Nebraska? How will your assets be distributed to heirs? The laws of intestate succession determine who gets what in Nebraska.

What is intestate succession?

Intestate succession is the process the court uses to pass on the assets of a deceased individual who died without a last will. Intestate succession laws exist in all 50 states. Without a will in place upon death, the state assumes how an individual would’ve divided up their assets. Not all of the deceased’s assets are subject to succession laws, though.

What assets are subject to succession?

A variety of factors affect which of the deceased’s assets are subject to the laws of succession. Assets that are subject to the law include items that would’ve needed to pass through probate even if the deceased had died with a will in place. This includes assets not listed in a trust, family heirlooms, and property. However, some items do not pass through intestate succession. Exclusions include:

    • Assets, such as retirement accounts, that name a beneficiary
    • Real estate held by a transfer-on death deed
    • Vehicles held by a transfer-on-death title
    • Property owned by a co-owner or in joint tenancy
    • Property listed in a living trust
    • Life insurance payouts

Examples of  assets subject to succession…

Joe Smith died without a last will. He left behind a variety of assets, including a truck held in a transfer-on-death title and some valuable art work. According to the laws of intestate succession, Joe’s truck is not subject to the probate process, so the laws of succession don’t affect it. It will pass down to his nephew, who he has listed on the transfer-on-death title. His art work, on the other hand, is subject to succession laws. The pieces are evaluated and cataloged with the estate’s other assets. Then, they’ll be distributed according to intestate succession.

What determines succession?

The living relatives of the deceased determine the succession of assets. Succession is different for everyone because it depends on a variety of factors, such as who survived the deceased. For example, Nebraska law says that a surviving spouse inherits all of the deceased’s assets if they are the deceased’s only surviving relative. However, if the deceased is also survived by a parent, the spouse receives the first $100,000 of the estate plus half of the remaining assets. The deceased’s parent receives the other remaining half. If the deceased is survived by their spouse plus children from a previous marriage, the spouse and children will split the estate’s assets in half. This Nolo article provides a more complete example of how intestate succession is effected by surviving parents, spouses, and children.

Examples of succession…

Jane Nelson died without a last will. Her husband and daughter are still alive. According to the laws of intestate succession, Jane’s husband inherits the first $100,000 of intestate property plus half of the remaining balance. Her daughter inherits the other half of the remaining balance.

How can Boyum Law Firm help you?

Boyum Law Firm can help you with creating documents in advance to avoid the process of intestate succession. To contact Boyum Law, click here.