Estate Planning Lawyer in Omaha, NE
Your estate plan is a plan of how your wealth and assets will be transferred after your death. It is a blueprint for preserving and transferring your legacy and for the financial future of your beneficiaries. It allows you to specify where each of your assets will go upon your death, so all the work you’ve done throughout your life will not be lost or given to unintended beneficiaries. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we will work with you to help determine exactly what you want to do with your legacy.
Wills and Trusts
At the very center of most every estate plan, there is a will, and often there is also a trust. Whether a will or trust is best for you depends on your personal situation and your goals.
Sometimes called a "Last Will and Testament," a will is a statement of your final wishes. Wills are written documents primarily designed to distribute your property following your death. However, a will can also be used to:
- Name a personal representative (also known as an executor) to carry out your wishes
- Determine how your debts and taxes will be paid
- Name guardians for your children and your children’s property
- Serve as a backup to your living trust
Property distributed by a will typically goes through probate, and the will often fulfills its purpose and ceases to control management and administration of your assets once everything is distributed. A will is typically not an effective vehicle to accomplish certain estate-planning purposes, such as:
- Reducing estate taxes
- Avoiding probate
- Leaving funeral instructions
- Making conditional gifts
- Leaving money for care of pets
- Arranging for care of a beneficiary with special needs
If you want to include any specific instructions for how property should be utilized by your heirs, you may want to consider establishing a trust. Trusts are legal entities that hold property for your benefit and for the benefit of the people or entities you name as your beneficiaries. Trusts allow the settlor (the person making the trust) to leave instructions for the trustee on how to handle and distribute the property. These instructions can last for many years after death.
Another benefit of establishing a trust is the ability to build in various protections for your assets after your death. Examples include:
- Remarriage protections (in case your spouse remarries after you die) to protect your assets from the future influence of a third party;
- Marriage protections to ensure that you provide for both your current spouse and your children from a previous marriage;
- Creditor protections to help you protect your assets from your creditors and any creditors your beneficiaries may have in the future; and
- Benefit protections to help protect your beneficiaries from losing needs-based or asset-based government benefits, while still improving their quality of life.
One of the most important and often overlooked parts of a trust, however, is making sure that it is appropriately and timely funded. A trust is like a bucket that holds your assets for you and your beneficiaries’ benefit. If the property is not in the trust bucket, the trust cannot do its job, and your goals will be frustrated. Many people create wonderful trusts and then forget to fund them, or they put it off to a later date - and it never gets done. If the trust does not hold the property you wish for it to administer, the trust is null. We will help you every step of the way to assure that your trust is funded when and how you want it to be funded so that your goals are achieved.
The Omaha Estate Planning Attorneys Who Can Help
At Bottlinger Law L.L.C. in Omaha, Nebraska, we take pride in making the estate planning process easy for you.
Whether you prefer a trust or only a will, we can help you create the estate plan of your choice. We deal in a wide variety of trusts to meet your and your beneficiaries’ specific needs, including revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, testamentary trusts, special needs trusts, and charitable trusts. We can ensure that all of your property is correctly placed into the trust so that it accomplishes your goals.
Who Will Carry Out Your Estate Plan?
An important aspect of estate planning is to determine in advance who will carry out your wishes. We can help you identify likely fiduciaries to carry out different aspects of your estate plan.
Perhaps the most important decision is who will take care of your children, should anything happen to you. Our estate planning team can help you choose the right people; those who have the same values, and who will provide the right kind of home for your children. If you have minor children, it is crucial to establish who will take care of them now, not later.
How Much Will Estate Planning Cost?
Our firm offers estate-planning legal services on a flat-fee basis. This gives you the advantage of knowing exactly how much it will cost to complete your estate plan, regardless of the number of calls, visits, or questions you may have for us. We never want you to hesitate before picking up the phone and giving us a call. We want to hear from you! There is no such thing as a bad question when it comes to legal services, and especially estate planning. We design our fees so that you feel most comfortable as we work through your design process.
Our goal is to give you total peace of mind: now, during the estate-planning process, and into the future. Proper estate planning can help ensure that you provide for and protect your loved ones, and that your legacy is protected and transferred to the next generation exactly as you want it to be. No matter how big or how small, every estate needs a plan.
Our Estate Planning Services
From helping you identify whether a will or a trust makes the most sense to business succession planning and medical directives, Bottlinger Law L.L.C. provides a wide range of estate planning services. Learn more about each of these services by clicking the links below.