Nebraska: Every Legal, Medical, and Estate Planning Document You Need

Here's a complete guide to every critical medical, legal, and estate planning document and relevant state law for Nebraska. Download these forms and get started with Pillar to organize all of your most important documents in one safe, secure, easy-to-use online storage solution

February 2, 2021

If you or a loved one live in the Cornhusker State, there are plenty of laws to be aware of and legal forms to fill out. To help you abide by the necessary laws and acquire the correct documents for your specific needs, here’s a complete list of medical, legal, and estate planning forms to get your important documents organized and plan for your future in Nebraska.

Essential Nebraska Medical State Laws & Forms

How to Get Your Medical Records in Nebraska

Nebraska state law requires that healthcare providers maintain medical records for at least 10 years. This applies to hospitals, though most medical facilities and physicians in the state keep medical records for at least 10 years. If the patient is a child, Nebraska hospitals are required to keep their medical records for 10 years or until the patient turns 21 — whichever is longer. 

During the period in which your medical records are available, you have the right to view, copy, or make amendments to them. Additionally, if you are the personal representative (such as the administrator) of a deceased relative’s estate, you may request the medical records of your relative for the purposes of managing their estate. You can learn more about requesting medical records for yourself or someone else in Nebraska right here.

Nebraska Advance Directive Laws

In Nebraska, citizens who are at least 19 years old have the right to make decisions concerning their own medical care. That said, if you are unfit to communicate or adequately make decisions concerning your treatment, you may need to create an Advance Directive. Sometimes referred to as a “living will,” an Advance Directive allows you to give the power of attorney to someone else in the event that you cannot make healthcare decisions on your own.

Fortunately, Nebraska makes it easy to set up provisions for the future management of your healthcare. Simply fill out and follow the necessary instructions to submit the Power of Attorney for Health Care Form. If you’d like to learn more about Advance Directives in Nebraska, feel free to consult any of the following links:

Nebraska Organ Donor Registry

If you’d like to become an organ donor in Nebraska, you can quickly and easily register online. Just sign up by creating an account with the Live On Nebraska Donor Registry.

Essential Nebraska Legal & Estate Planning Documents & Forms

Trusts and Probate Laws in Nebraska

According to Statute 30-2209, a Nebraska citizen may create a trust to pass on personal property, assets, and real estate. A living trust can help you avoid probate and prove ownership of anything of value in your possession. In Nebraska, it is highly recommended that you create a living trust to avoid the state’s complex and time-consuming probate process. With a living trust, any trustee can automatically transfer any assets to their possession without probate court proceedings.

Learn more about how to set up a living trust in Nebraska.

Nebraska Digital Estate Planning Laws

Nebraska Statute 30-502 dictates that all digital assets — including email, social media accounts, and the like — can be legally passed on to a designated recipient, with the process carried out by a designated custodian. You can learn more about all the specifics of Nebraska’s digital estate planning estate laws from the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (2015).

Nebraska Probate Laws

Probate is the process by which a court determines the validity of a will as an official document approved by the deceased. Nebraska probate proceedings may be required regardless of whether or not a deceased person had a will in their possession. In any case, if you do not have a will, your estate is required to pass through the probate process. 

It is the responsibility of the deceased’s personal representative to take inventory of all of their assets, pay any and all taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. Most probates in Nebraska are handled at the county level and can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months to complete. Learn more about the probate court in Nebraska.

Read more about the biggest differences between a will and a trust, and why you might want to avoid Nebraska’s stricter probate requirements when planning your estate.

How to Get a Death Certificate in Nebraska

In Nebraska, you may only request a death certificate for your spouse, parent, or child. If you are not directly related to the deceased, you do not have the right to view or copy a death certificate in the state of Nebraska. However, if you are the spouse, parent, or child of a deceased person, you can acquire a death certificate by mail via Vital Records. In addition to a check for $16 and a copy of your government-issued ID, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Full name of deceased
  • City or town of death, 
  • Date of death (if exact date is unknown, provide a span of years)
  • How you are related to the deceased
  • Reason for requesting the death certificate

If the deceased’s death certificate requires a database search, you may be required to provide more information. Consult the Vital Records Directory for more information.

Does Nebraska Have an Estate & Inheritance Tax?

Since repealing the law in 2007, Nebraska has not had an estate tax. However, it is one of seven states to have a separate inheritance tax on property. The law applies to anyone who dies and owns property in the state of Nebraska, whether or not they maintained residency in the state at the time of their death. That said, there are exemptions to the tax for spouses of the deceased, as well as partial exemptions for close relatives or certain kinds of property.

You can learn more about Nebraska’s inheritance tax

Everything You Need to Know About Estate Planning in Nebraska

Like most states, Nebraska has its own unique laws related to medical records, inheritance taxes, wills, trusts, and general estate planning. Fortunately, you can navigate the Nebraska probate process and inheritance tax forms with confidence by signing up for a Pillar account. With Pillar, you can safely scan, store, and share your most important state documents when you need them via Pillar’s secure and easy-to-use online storage tool. 

Start your free 14-day trial today to see if Pillar is right for you!