Probate Shortcuts in Nebraska

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in Nebraska.

Updated by , Attorney

Nebraska offers some probate shortcuts for "small estates." These procedures make it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using simplified probate procedures or without any probate court proceedings at all -- by using an affidavit. And that saves time, money, and hassle.

Here are the ways you can skip or speed up probate. (If the affidavit procedure is used, there's no need to use the simplified probate procedure.)

Claiming Property With a Simple (Small Estate) Affidavit

Nebraska has a procedure that allows inheritors to skip probate altogether when the value of all the assets left behind is less than a certain amount. All an inheritor has to do is prepare a short document, stating that he or she is entitled to a certain asset. This document, signed under oath, is called an affidavit. When the person or institution holding the property -- for example, a bank where the deceased person had an account -- gets the affidavit and a copy of the death certificate, it releases the asset.

The out-of-court affidavit procedure is available in Nebraska if:

  1. Personal property: the value all personal property, wherever located, less liens and encumbrances, is $50,000 or less. There is a 30-day waiting period. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 30-24,125.


  1. Real estate: the value of all Nebraska real estate is $50,000 or less, less real estate taxes and interest due at the time of death. There is a 30-day waiting period. The inheritor must be entitled to the real property due to the homestead allowance, exempt property allowance, family allowance, according to the instructions of the will, or intestate succession. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 30-24,129.

Simplified Probate Procedures

Nebraska has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.

You can use the simplified small estate process in Nebraska if the value of the entire estate, less liens and encumbrances, doesn't exceed homestead allowance, exempt property, family allowance, costs of administration, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable medical expenses of the last illness. Neb. Rev. Stat § 30-24,127.

You'll need to complete a closing statement and file it with the court. The statement must contain the following information:

  • the value of the estate is less than that described above
  • you distributed the assets to the inheritors
  • you gave a copy of the closing statement and an accounting to the inheritors
  • you gave a copy of the closing statement to known creditors

Neb. Rev. Stat § 30-24,128.

For More Information

For help determining if an estate qualifies for one of these probate shortcuts, or handling an estate in general, see see The Executor's Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).

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