Author: Tosha Heavican, Senior Associate Attorney, Hightower Reff Law

woman and man

What Makes Your Life Meaningful?

I recently considered this question within the context of estate planning and had an epiphany. It is at the core of this question that the motivation and objective of estate planning are revealed. By thinking about what makes your life meaningful, you begin to determine the direction in which your […]

will with gavel

Can Personal Property be Protected From Probate?

The probate process can take a very long time. Imagine having an option to speed up that process or potentially avoid it completely. Under Nebraska law, there are two statutes that allow an individual to collect a deceased person’s property without requiring the probate. These statutes allow for a person […]

wedding rings

Premarital Agreements: Time to Discuss before You Say “I Do”

A friend of mine once told me the best advice she ever received in picking a life partner: “Never marry someone you can’t stand being divorced from.” For so many reasons, this rings true. While premarital agreements often get a bad rap – words like “unromantic”, “distrust”, and “greed” come […]

real estate document

A Simple Lesson on a Transfer on Death Deeds

Sometimes estate plans include a “transfer on death” deed as a way to transfer real estate at a property owner’s death. A recent opinion by the Eighth Circuit (Dawn Strope-Robinson v. State Farm Fire and Casualty) has made this estate planning tool a popular discussion topic in estate planning circles. […]


Estate Planning ice breakers

Estate Planning Awareness Week kicks off on October 18. In recognition, I hope you take this opportunity to bring some basic estate planning topics to your dinner table for discussion. By talking about these important topics with your family and close friends, it makes the realities of estate planning bearable […]


Understanding a Guardianship/Conservatorship

The recent news of Britney Spears’ ongoing court battle has made “guardianship” and “conservatorship” household terms. Understanding the basics of protective proceedings can give some context to this timely issue. In Nebraska, the legal system offers a proceeding for interested persons to seek guardianship and/or conservatorship over an incapacitated person […]


Inheritance Tax Basics

In the case of inheritance tax, no truer words have been spoken than those of Benjamin Franklin: “in life, taxes and death are the only certainty.” Nebraska is one of six states that collects inheritance tax. (In case you were wondering, Iowa does, too). Nebraska’s inheritance tax statutes assess a […]


What is Probate?

Probate, at a base level, is a process used in the court system to satisfy creditors and distribute assets of a deceased person to his or her beneficiaries, either named in a Will or based on Nebraska law (if the person died without a Will). The probate process applies to […]


The Fundamentals of Estate Planning

Putting the right estate planning tools in place for you and your loved ones starts with the fundamentals. A basic estate plan includes a Will, Power of Attorney for Healthcare, and Power of Attorney for Finance. These documents allow you to make your wishes known when you die and to […]