Wills and Trusts

Wills/Probate Law

Providing critical services that everyone needs in estate planning, including the writing of wills and trusts, with the goal of preserving your assets and allocating your property as to your wishes.

Estate Planning

You can avoid a lot of stress, financial expense, time and confusion if you have a solid estate plan in place in the event of your death or disability. A solid estate plan will detail out what to do should you become incapacitated, will avoid or streamline the probate process, will provide for your minor children, and will make sure that your assets are distributed exactly as to your wishes upon your death. It may also help in avoiding unneeded taxes to your estate or your beneficiaries, and can even detail out how to transfer the assets of your business.

Probate Administration

Unless there is a well-drafted and properly-funded trust, when a loved-one dies, the estate will have to go through a court-managed process called probate administration. This process can take nine months or longer, depending on the complexity of the estate and it involves several steps to execute.  We can help advise you on the process, allowing you to do most of the work, but giving you a roadmap to work from, or we can take care of each step for you, giving you peace of mind that all will go smoothly in the entire process.

Small Estate Administration

If your deceased loved-one has left an estate of less than $100,000, including all assets, in Arkansas you can avoid the lengthy probate process and have the estate administered in considerably less time and at less expense. However, there still are documents and information to present, as well as notices to post, and we can help with each step of the process.

Trusts & Trust Administration

Trusts are not just for wealthy people. Trusts have a wide variety of different beneficial uses, but they can be quite simple ways to make sure that your estate is distributed exactly as you wish after death, while avoiding the lengthy and expensive probate process of wills.  Trusts can be set up for your minor children in the event of the death of both parents, for those with special needs, or for your own benefit to use until your death (revocable living trust) after which the trust will detail exactly how you want the assets of the trust distributed.  Trusts can be used to protect your assets in your own business, and they can be set up to protect the value of a partnership in the event of your death. Also, trusts can be used to properly minimize tax impact after death for higher-wealth individuals.  We can help educate you on trusts and, based on your goals, advise you on some of the best ways to protect your assets and distribute your property after death.  If a deceased loved-one has a trust, and you need assistance in setting up the administration of the trust, we can advise you on the process or we can assist in carrying out the administration of the trust.

Wills

A properly drafted will can make sure that all of your assets are distributed as you intended after death. It also can name the guardian of the children in the event that there is no remaining parent, and it should name the executor of your estate. Further, a will can be used to fund a trust, if you have one set up.  The properly drafted will establishes that your assets will not distributed according to laws set up by the state, but as to your wishes. Contact us and we can discuss your wishes and help draft a will that accomplishes your goals.

Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives

A power of attorney grants a person the authority to act on your behalf in your financial and/or legal affairs if you were to become disabled and not capable of managing your affairs yourself. A power of attorney can be set up for health care, as well.  An Advanced Health Care Directive, also known as a living will, gives direction on what actions may be taken with respect to your health should you not be able to make decisions for yourself due to life-threatening severe illness or incapacity.  We can explain and assist in creating and executing any of these legal documents for you.

Name Change

We can assist in creating and filing the necessary documents to change your name due to marriage, divorce, or any other legal reason. Other than for marriage, the name change usually involves petitioning the court for the change.  We can assist with the entire process.  A name change for marriage can be accomplished simply when filing the marriage license, unless you choose to change the name after marriage.  A name cannot be changed to avoid a lawsuit, a debt or criminal charges.

Counseling on Other Estate Planning Tools

There are many other tools to put into place when making plans for your estate, and we can discuss many of them with you. To name a few, we can discuss simple probate avoiding transfer-on-death accounts and beneficiary deeds; various types of life insurance and what is best for your estate, if needed; special needs trusts; asset protection trusts; pension and retirement benefits planning and beneficiary designation; and business succession planning.

Free Review of Your Will or Trust

We would be happy to review your existing will or trust, at no cost to you, to see if we recommend making adjustments to it based on the current laws that exist today. Sometimes law changes or new planning tools make provisions in estate planning obsolete, even if only created five years ago.  Also, your financial situation or your goals may have changed since you created your estate plan.  If we identify an provision that needs to be changed, added or deleted, you may redraft it yourself, take it to the attorney of your choice for drafting, or we will of course be happy to draft it for you.

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