Do I Need a Last Will and Testament?
The short answer is that you may not need a will.
Your property will be passed on to your heirs, even if you do not have a will. Arkansas has laws in place to ensure the transfer of real and personal property once you die. (See this article for how property transfers as a matter of law.) However, what a will does for you, and your family, is give peace of mind and help ensure you estate is handled the way you wish it handled.
But, I am young and broke!
Most people don’t want to think about their death and many people do not like to discuss these things with family. Many people feel they are too young or don’t have enough property to need a will. Yet, the easiest thing for your family, and the best way to ensure your wishes are known, is to have a will.
Won’t my wife get everything?
No. If you are married and have children (even grown children), Arkansas law prevents your spouse from automatically inheriting all of your property. The ONLY way to ensure your spouse gets your entire estate is through a will.
When things pass outside of a will, they pass equally to a “class.” That means if you have three children, your car passes to all three equally. Now, they have to decide what to do with it. At a time when your loved ones are mourning your loss, the last thing they should have to worry about is what to do with your possessions.
Who GETS Great Aunt Matilda’s crystal?
With a will, you can specifically decide (and limit) who has a right to inherit and how much they may receive.
What happens if you want something to pass to a brother or sister? When you have children, a spouse, or surviving parents, your siblings do not inherit under Arkansas law. They may never receive that treasured memento you want them to have.
With a will you, can ensure that those outside of your family receive gifts. Think of a scenario where you have an old hunting buddy who has always wanted that buck you had mounted years ago, without a will there is no way to ensure he gets it.
Special Needs = special considerations
Lastly, you may not WANT one of your children to inherit your property. When a child (even a grown child) has special needs and receives benefits from the government, inheriting property after your death may create problems with these benefits. In some cases, the benefits are lost completely.
For these reasons, and many more, we highly recommend you have a will. Please feel free to call us. We can sit down and discuss your estate planning concerns and help select a path that is best for you.
If you need assistance with your estate plan in Arkansas, please contact The Hardin Law Firm, PLC, or a licensed attorney in your state.
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SERVING: Cabot, Beebe, Ward, Searcy, Jacksonville, Lonoke County, White County, Faulkner County, and other central Arkansas areas. We also routinely serve out-of-state clients, who require representation in Arkansas.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information. It should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship.
Last updated: October 2, 2017 at 15:14 pm