Simply put, wills and trusts in Arkansas are legal documents that dictate who will manage and inherit your assets after you pass away or if you become mentally incapacitated. You can leave assets to any person you wish, though most people designate family members, friends, business partners, or charities.
Many people are unclear on the difference between wills and trusts, which makes sense given the nuances of each. The clearest delineation we can draw without delving into too much legal jargon is that wills are subject to the probate process and trusts are not. This means that assets in a trust will remain there regardless of the mental or physical state of the original trustees, whereas the inheritors of a will must wait until the probate process is complete before receiving any assets.
Start outlining your final wishes in a comprehensive will.
Most commonly, wills are documents that name beneficiaries who will inherit assets such as money, property, stocks, or insurance policies. They also allow you to appoint guardians for your children and executors of your estate. Wills do not require a transfer of property like trusts do, but they do require witnesses to be considered valid. In Arkansas, typed wills require two witnesses, whereas handwritten wills require three.
Because trusts can be established and implemented during your lifetime and prime income-earning years, there are many different kinds. Oftentimes, trusts are used for business purposes as they are protected from court challenges and the assets within them are not subject to the debts or taxes of the individual who owned them originally. What this means is that the assets belong to the trust itself, not the person who formed the trust or beneficiaries.
To demonstrate how widely varying trusts can be, here is an incomplete list of some of the common types of trusts:
Revocable or living trust
Asset protection trust
Special needs trust
Establishing wills and trusts is an essential part of estate planning, but it can be overly complex for the layperson to handle on their own. That’s where we come in. The established legal team at Knight Halbert LLP has helped countless clients manage their assets through many kinds of legally-sound trusts and wills.
Knight Halbert LLP provides thorough estate planning attorney services to Fayetteville individuals and families in need of wills or trusts to manage their assets. The best time to prepare for the future is today, so contact our office to schedule a complimentary consultation!