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Omaha Legal Blog

The difference between a power of attorney and a living will

When you set up your estate plan to deal with future medical decisions, you have a few options. The two main ones are a living will and a power of attorney. You need to know the differences to find out which one is right for you.

If you use a power of attorney, you essentially turn your power to make medical decisions over to someone else. It's probably going to be a spouse or an heir.

Should children get their inheritance when they become adults?

You set up a trust for your children, who are minors. If you pass away, your financial assets get passed on through the trust. You don't want to leave money directly to your 12-year-old child, after all. The trust holds it until the kids become adults.

But should they get it as soon as they are technically adults? Legally speaking, that means when they turn 18.

Can I lose custody of my kids if I go to rehab?

Unfortunately, Omaha has not been spared the blight of the effects of opioid addiction that have cast a pall over the entire country. Lives have been lost and families splintered in the wake of this scourge.

Perhaps the most vulnerable ones affected by opioid addiction are the children of those struggling with their addictions. These kids are innocents caught up in the web that slowly strangles the life out of their addicted parents.

Who should you name as your child’s guardian?

When planning your estate as a young parent, the most difficult decision you will make is choosing a guardian for your child in the event of your death and, if applicable, your spouse’s death. It is nearly unimaginable to think of another person raising your child. Yet it’s vital to prepare for all possibilities.

If you had to choose someone to raise your child, who would it be? What qualities should they possess and what things should you consider as you contemplate who to choose?

Communication matters in estate planning

It's easy to feel like estate planning is something that you do by yourself, for yourself. That can be true in some situations. However, other people are impacted by this plan. Therefore, it may be a good idea to talk with them throughout this process.

In fact, some experts say that one of the most important things people can do while developing their estate plan is to talk to their heirs about that plan and their intentions.

Your goals as a co-parent

With the end of your marriage, you enter a new stage in your life with your ex. Now the two of you are co-parents. You have to work together even though you're not married and you may both move on with your romantic lives. You still have to share the portions of your life that include the kids.

If that sounds hard to do, it's understandable. Not everyone enjoys dealing with their ex, but it's unavoidable if you have kids. The goal is to focus on them. When you see how your actions help them, even when it's difficult, the whole thing feels easier. Here are some priorities that you should have:

  • Make sure the children always feel safe and secure in both homes.
  • Communicate well with your ex so that the kids' lives go smoothly.
  • Be flexible when possible so that they can enjoy their lives.
  • Be respectful and civil, even if you're not necessarily friends.
  • Don't put the kids in the middle of the situation.
  • Always be fair to your ex and to the children, no matter how you feel.
  • Talk to the kids and give them a chance to speak. Listen when they do.
  • Set healthy boundaries and make sure you both know where you stand.
  • Above all else, focus on the kids' well-being: Physically, emotionally and mentally.

Update your estate plan if diagnosed with a chronic illness

By 2020, it is expected that about 157 million Americans will have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. If you're one of them, you should have an estate plan that reflects that reality.

These are some of the key estate planning documents that could benefit you if suffering from a chronic illness.

  1. A HIPAA release. HIPAA – which stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 – governs who can receive your personal health information. A HIPPA release allows you to authorize someone you approve to receive your otherwise confidential medical information. You might need another trusted person, such as your adult child or spouse, to have access to crucial information.
  2. A living will. This document states your health care wishes and directs medical staff about future treatment.
  3. Health proxy. Also known as a medical power of attorney, completing this form allows you to designate someone to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so. You also can name someone as your guardian should you become incapacitated.
  4. Financial power of attorney. This document gives someone the ability to handle your financial and legal matters. There are different types of this document, and your attorney can advise you which is appropriate for your condition.
  5. Revocable trust. This can help you avoid probate but also to provide a safeguard as your disease progresses.

Nebraska Supreme Court rules on wording in divorce decree

A divorce and child custody agreement typically addresses a number of issues, from where children will live to where they will go to school to where they will spend the holidays.

And recently, the Nebraska Supreme Court made a ruling on a case that has to do with where children go to church.

Protecting the family farm in divorce

The heart and soul of Nebraska is all about farming. However, farm families face special challenges when couples decide to divorce. Protecting a farm that has been in the family for generations isn’t easy in divorce, especially if its operations have grown during the marriage and multiple family members are a part of running it.

Warren Buffett sets example for contributions from estates

Famed Omaha, Nebraska, businessman Warren Buffett announced he will donate $3.6 billion worth of shares in his Berkshire Hathaway company to five foundations as part of his estate plan.

In a company transaction, Buffett will convert 11,250 of his Class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock into 16.875 million Class B shares. Those Class B shares will be gifted to five foundations: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation, the company announced.

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Reisinger Booth & Associates, P.C., L.L.O.

7602 Pacific Street, Suite 222
Omaha, NE 68114

Phone: 402-983-8213
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