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Why Should You Get A Last Will and Testament in Arkansas?
Which steps are you implementing to ensure that your wishes are respected even after your demise? Have you thought about estate planning and the preparation of a last will and testament? Estate planning refers to the steps you take to set in motion and allocate responsibility for different tasks for proper management of your asset base. The preparation is in anticipation of your death. You could think of it as the process of determining and naming the heirs to your assets. It also involves placing bequests for your assets as well as the settlement of your estate taxes and other obligations.
These steps build up to the creation of a last will and testament. While estate planning may involve getting an experienced estate lawyer then paying them, you can prepare a free Arkansas last will and testament, also called a will or a last will.
The will refers to the document used to document your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate after your demise. It is a legally binding document, and in it, its creator is the testator, the parties or party that inherits your property is the heir or the beneficiary, while the person responsible for overseeing the execution of your wishes is the executor.
The state lets the testator write their will and name heirs to their property as per their wishes.
Not to be confused with the living will, the last will is only executable after the testator’s demise. On the other hand, the living will is enforceable when its creator (principal) is still alive. Often, the living will has specific orders or advance directives for finances, health or childcare and the directives are only executable under the orders of the agent when the principal is incapacitated or unavailable.
When do you need the will?
You may want to prepare a free last will and testament in Arkansas if you don’t want your property to fall under the wrong hands or mismanaged after your demise.
The will protects your children and other dependents when you are no more. For this, you will have to appoint a guardian if your children are minors or if they have disabilities. In protecting your kids, you may also use the will to create a trust. These trusts are called testamentary trusts and their creation ensure that you protect your children or even that cute pet.
Testamentary trusts refer to the trust whose details are in a will. This trust provided for the distribution of part or all of a testator’s estate. In most cases, it also defines the distribution of life insurance settlement in the testator’s name. Note that these trusts are effective in providing for named heirs.
A testamentary trust could also be prepared for a pet. In such cases, the trust created for the care of the animal during the creator’s lifetime (under trusts, the creator is the settlor). The pet trusts terminate upon the death of the animal. Therefore, if you want your pet cared for after your demise, indicate your wishes and create a trust in the free last will and testament in Arkansas.
The probate court’s role in wills and estate distribution
Do you know what happens to everything in your name after your demise and in the absence of a will? The state sweeps in and invokes intestacy. Intestacy is basically the legal process adopted by the state if you die without a will. In it, you and your property are intestate. The court will determine who gets what and how much.
The intestacy laws state that upon death and during the distribution of property, the surviving spouse inherits the entire estate in the absence of children or descendants – the couple should have been married for a minimum of 3 years. However, for marriages under 3 years without children, the surviving spouse will only inherit half the estate. The rest of the estate goes to the decedent’s siblings, parents, or any other relatives.
You also need to know this: the spouse’s share of the estate is under the determination of the “dower and courtesy” doctrine. The doctrine states that in the absence of children or descendants. A named spouse uses a third of your property for the rest of their life and they inherit another 1/3.
You see, while the state has its procedures, the property distribution hardly represents your wishes. It is, therefore, important that you put down your wishes on property distribution for the acknowledgment and protection of your wishes, and also to prevent conflict between your family members after your death.
What makes a will valid?
Even though you don’t have to get a form, we recommend getting a free will and testament form to ensure that your will has all the details necessary for the validity of the form. Some of the essential details include:
Creating the document according to the statutory requirements in code section 28-25-101, et seq.
- The other requirements for validity include:
- The creator of the will should be an adult aged 18 or above, and they should be of sound mind acting under no duress.
- It should have the signature of the declarant (creator) and signatures of at least two adult witnesses. The witnesses will only sign the will after the testator.
- It should be in writing, and no oral wills are acceptable. At the same time, Arkansas recognizes handwritten (holographic) wills, as long the handwriting is the testator’s. There should be evidence from three credible and disinterested witnesses for this to be acceptable as a legally enforceable will.
- Indicate the name(s) of beneficiary or beneficiaries.
Do you need a will? Get our free last will and testament form today.