Do I need a Will?

One of the most common questions an estate planning attorney hears in casual conversation is "Do I need a Last Will and Testament?"  Occasionally, the answer to this question is "Probably not."  In most cases, though, the answer is "Yes."  Most parents of minor children would like to appoint a guardian to take care of their children if both parents were to pass away.  The way to accomplish this, according to Nebraska Revised Statute 30-2606, is with a testamentary appointment in a will.  Without this, guardianship will be determined by the courts according to the judge's discretion.  Another (seemingly obvious) use of a will is to have your property distributed after your death in the way you want .  Not having a will means that State law controls how your property will be distributed when you die.   In Nebraska, this can cause serious complications for property distribution, particularly in blended families.  For example, if a person dies without a will and is survived by a spouse and a child from a different relationship, the surviving spouse would have to split the estate with his/her step-child.  It doesn't matter whether the step-child is a minor or an adult.  Many times, this outcome is far from what a person would wish to happen to his or her property.  The only way to remedy this, however, is by a will.  There are innumerable other considerations in whether or not to have a will, and the only way you will know for sure whether you should have one is with an attorney consultation.