Many people do not like to think about their own mortality. Although this is normal, it is important that you do think about what will happen to your belongings and savings when you pass away. Preparing for your death provides immense relief and support for your family in the weeks and months after your passing.
Although most people understand the concept of wills, many do not understand the other options available to them during the estate planning process. With the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer, you can learn about the options available for your assets and work to make an empowered and informed estate plan.
Our team at Kevin Lemley Law Partners provides estate planning services for the individuals, couples, and families of Little Rock. With our help, you can create an estate plan that serves your family for generations.
With over 50 years of combined experience, our team provides the highly qualified estate planning services in the Little Rock area. You may have significant assets or be leaving behind a modest amount for your loved ones. We can help ensure that your wishes are properly documented and fulfilled. Our priority is to create a personalized, strong estate plan. This can serve you while you are living and your family after you are gone.
We understand that death is a difficult subject, and many people feel conflicted about the estate planning process. Our job is to make you feel comfortable with the tools that we use in your estate plan and to develop a system that puts you at ease. Just because you are preparing for the eventuality of your passing does not mean it will happen soon. Being prepared is simply a smart legal move, regardless of your age, socioeconomic status, or family setup.
For estate planning services, no Little Rock law firm is better equipped to serve your needs than our team at Kevin Lemley Law Partners.
Creating an estate plan is more than writing a will or choosing beneficiaries. It is a process of exploring and choosing the right accounts and setup for your assets while you are alive. That way, your family can benefit after you are gone.
After a person passes away, their family usually has to go through the probate process. This is a legal procedure in which a judge makes sure that the deceased’s essential debts have been paid. During this process, the judge also looks at the deceased’s will to ensure that it is legitimate and to name an executor of the will. An executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes outlined in the will. The will’s executor may be named in the document. If it is not, the judge will choose someone.
If the will is not legitimate, or if there is no will, the judge will determine what should happen to the deceased’s assets. Usually, the assets go to the deceased’s next of kin. If this occurs, the next of kin can decide whether to redistribute the assets according to what the deceased may have wanted. They can also choose to keep the assets for themselves. This can cause many issues within families.
To make the probate process easier, it is important to have an updated will that is legally binding. There are also some estate planning tools that allow you to bypass probate altogether.
Wills are just one part of the estate planning process, but they are a valuable starting point. A will can outline what you wish to happen to key assets such as your home, bank accounts, and certain possessions. They can also name guardians for your children or dependents, if you have any. It is never too early to make a will, as they are relatively simple and can have a significant impact. If you have a home, are married, or have children, you should absolutely have a proper will.
Trusts are another estate planning tool that many people take advantage of. When you put your assets in a trust, they technically change ownership. They are now owned by your trustee, or the person who is holding the trust for you. When you pass away, the trustee distributes the assets without having to go through the probate process. This is because the trustee technically had control over the assets, which did not pass away, so probate is usually not necessary.
You can make both a living, or revocable, trust and an irrevocable trust. In the former, you can make changes to your estate plan and access your assets as normal. In an irrevocable trust, you do not have this kind of ongoing control. All trusts become irrevocable upon the death of the benefactor.
Arkansas also has a beneficiary deed as an estate planning option. A beneficiary deed also avoids probate. You record the deed now, but it does not take effect until after you have passed away.
A significant part of the estate planning process is naming the individuals who will inherit your assets when you pass. These are your beneficiaries. It is important to be thoughtful and careful about what you leave to whom. Inheritances can cause significant conflict within families, especially during times of grief.
If you opt for a trust, you will also have to name a trustee. This person will be responsible for holding your trust while you are alive. They will also be tasked with distributing your assets when you die. This person should be someone you trust, as they may have to make educated guesses about your wishes if issues or roadblocks arise. However, trustees also get the brunt of the family’s frustration and complaints if there are any issues with the trust. It is important to choose someone who can be impartial and advocate for your wishes in the face of family arguments.
Our team at Kevin Lemley Law Partners has been helping families with their estate plans for many years. We understand the complexities of these cases and our highly skilled attorneys can provide valuable resources during the estate planning process.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact Kevin Lemley Law Partners via our website.