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Know Your Rights: Funeral & After Death Decisions

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Recently two women who were together for 10 years learned the one was terminally ill with cancer. She had her funeral arrangements in writing, and gave her partner the right to carry out her wishes. Upon her death, her partner went to a funeral home and in the midst of signing the contract to pay for all of the arrangements, learned that the funeral home director intended to allow the deceased woman's children make decisions about the funeral plans and how her remains would be handled. Luckily, the written directions describing the surviving partner's power were clear and an attorney was able to resolve the question that same day. However, if the woman had not made out her written directions, the law would have allowed the funeral home to take the surviving spouse's money but would have given all decision making powers to the children.

If you are in a same-sex relationship, use this form to name who will carry our your after-death wishes.

This information is also available in a PDF.

Every LGBT person should take the necessary steps to put their legal matters in order: that includes making a will, drawing up a power of attorney, and for finances, signing a living will, and leaving directions about your funeral plans. The reason it's important for people in same-sex relationships to have legal documents in place is because without them, your partner will not have any legal authority to handle these matters for you. This article will briefly describe one of the newest rights we all have under Nebraska law designating who will have the right to make your after-death arrangements.

Nebraska Revised Statute 38-1425 allows anyone, including your same sex partner, to be designated as having the right to make decisions about disposition of remains. "Disposition of remains" is an important issue, because it includes whether you'll be buried or cremated, where the burial will occur, ad who keeps the ashes if you are cremated. It may also include what sort of funeral service you have. The law allows you to leave these decisions to anyone you want, but the power must be granted in writing. You can do this at the same time as writing your will; just have an attorney to include a section about your wishes. Or, if you don't currently have a will be want to make sure you're protected in this area, use a form such as the one on the back of this fact sheet. The safest course is to have your wishes in writing AND in a will, but you should consult you attorney about this and other estate planning issues, as these are separate from Disposition of remains.

If you do not have a written will or a separate form, the law will choose who makes these after-death decisions for you. Even if your partner is named as your personal representative (or testator), they will not automatically have he right to dispose of your remains unless you leave written instructions. Without the form or will, Nebraska law looks at a list of your biological relations who have the right to step in after our death and take over all after-death arrangements. Without adequate planning, your partner could face a tragedy and be stripped of decision making power. Until we have equal rights of recognition of our relationships under the law, it is crucial for each of us to take what steps we can to protect our partners: making a written document naming who will carry out your after-death wishes is a simple but vital step.


Omaha STI Epidemic

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There is an epidemic in Omaha. Is it allowed to continue because of unequal access to educational resources? Learn more about Omaha's sexually transmited infection epidemic in this presentation.

Do You have a Child in Foster Care?

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If your family has become involved with Child Protective Services or the foster care system, you might have questions about your rights.  ACLU does NOT get involved in these sorts of cases, because everyone involved in the Juvenile Court System or charged with a crime has a right to an appointed attorney.  We have prepared this 4-page brochure with information to help you and your family, including information about how to get a free attorney if you can't afford to hire your own.
Download this file (CPS Foster care brochure.pdf)CPS Foster care brochure.pdf[CPS Foster Care Brochure]119 Kb

Prisoners with Disabilities

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In December 2003, ACLU Nebraska issued a report calling for reform of Nebraska's correctional facilities at the state and local levels.  Their report detailed the many problems facing prisoners and pre-trial detainees who have medical needs, physical disabilities, and mental illness.  The report was distributed to every state senator and began our efforts to reform state laws.
Download this file (Criminal_Neglect_report.pdf)Criminal_Neglect_report.pdf[Criminal Neglect: Prisoners With Disabilities]160 Kb

Tasers in Nebraska

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Summary on Taser use in Nebraska and recommendations a national law enforcement agency has made about Tasers.
Download this file (ACLU Neb Taser Addendum PERF Guidelines.pdf)ACLU Neb Taser Addendum PERF Guidelines.pdf[PERF Taser Recomendations]277 Kb
Download this file (ACLU Taser study.pdf)ACLU Taser study.pdf[ACLU Taser Study]255 Kb
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