Probate and Trust Administration Lawyers
Making sure you have all of the correct documentation signed and in place is just one part of ensuring your wishes are followed when you pass away. Equally important is the process of managing the administration and distribution of assets after a person passes away.
Except in cases where the testator’s assets have been transferred to a trust prior to death and trust matters are handled by the designated Trustee, managing a testator’s estate usually starts with “probate.” Probate is the legal process through which a Will’s validity is determined and distribution of assets specified in the Will is carried out. The first step in this administration process is the appointment, as specified in the Will, of a “Personal Representative” or “Executor” of the estate. This individual is in charge of all administration matters for the estate, including distribution of assets.
Probate also includes dealing with issues such as paying the deceased person’s debts and settling outstanding tax liabilities. It is important to recognize there are two types of taxes to address in the estate administration context. First is the federal “estate tax,” which only affects very large estates under current tax laws. The federal estate tax is seldom a concern since it applies only to estates valued over $11,400,000 (double that amount for a married couple).
Second is the state “inheritance tax,” which typically applies even to relatively small inheritances. The state inheritance tax rate is dependent on the degree of kinship between a deceased person and beneficiaries. For instance, children of the deceased pay a much lower tax rate and get a larger exemption than do cousins or nonrelatives. Nebraska and Iowa are two of only six states that impose an inheritance tax. While Nebraska’s 18% inheritance tax for nonrelatives is the highest in the nation, some portions of inheritance received by family members are exempt from this tax.
Call (402) 810-8611 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an experienced probate and trust lawyer in Omaha