Avoid After-Death Identity Theft

July 19, 2017

Hundreds of thousands of deceased persons are targeted each year by identity thieves. This crime is commonly referred to as “ghosting.” Fraudsters often target soon after death, when a grieving family is most vulnerable. Surviving family members are victims as well. Although a deceased’s loved...


Deeds and Land Ownership in Arkansas

June 20, 2017

Whether you are funding a trust, selling land, leasing a mineral interest, or planning for your home after you die, you are using a deed.  A deed is the legal document that transfers an interest in land.  Arkansas has many different types of deeds.  If you own your home with your spouse, you own...


Estate Planning Beyond the Documents

May 24, 2017

Estate planning, if crafted properly, gives us the ability to control situations that are often out of our control. A comprehensive plan is much more than traditional documents such as a trust, will or power of attorney. The documents are the vehicle to get from point A to point B. We must then fill...


Avoiding Probate in Arkansas--Part 2

April 24, 2017

Last month we discussed the probate process. Probate is not inevitable. There are several ways to pass assets outside of probate in Arkansas. Regardless of how you choose to handle your property, it is still advisable to have a Will to serve as a safety net and address items of tangible personal pro...


Avoiding Probate in Arkansas--Part 1

March 27, 2017

Clients often visit my office and request trusts to avoid probate.  When pushed, very few can define probate and its requirements.  Probate in Arkansas is a division of the circuit court where judges handle cases concerning wills (among other things). When someone dies, the will does not automati...


Emergency Rooms Have Trouble Finding Advance Directives

February 24, 2017

Two new studies show that ER doctors are almost never able to find their patients’ advance directives in Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Advance directives are your Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will.  Your Health Care Power of attorney states who will make health care decisions for...


Duties of an Executor

January 24, 2017

An executor, called an executrix if the person serving is female, is a person appointed in a Will to manage the affairs of and distribute property in a deceased person’s probate estate. Serving as an executor is an important job that carries with it a great deal of responsibility. Whether you have...


Past, Present, and Future Concerns of Estate Planning (Was Dickens Planning His Estate?)

December 20, 2016

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a well-known Christmas story but could Dickens have been thinking about his estate plan when he wrote it? I am the ghost of Christmas past.  What had he done in the past?  Who were his beneficiaries?  Did he list them on all of his assets?  Today, he coul...


The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

November 25, 2016

            You do not have to look far to find do-it-yourself books, software and online Arkansas  estate planning forms. They offer an enticing bargain. However, DIY estate planning form documents give you just that:  a document, not a comprehensive estate plan. They do not counsel yo...


Business Valuation Discounts--Changes to IRC 2704 Regulations

October 19, 2016

In Arkansas and all around the country, if your estate is taxable, discounts can reduce the size of the estate and thus reduce or eliminate taxes.  The IRS has proposed regulations to eliminate many of the discounts available for family owned businesses.  Before the regulations are finalized, busi...


Discussing Your Estate Plan with Your Family

September 29, 2016

It may be an uncomfortable topic to bring up at the dinner table, but speaking with your children and loved ones about your estate plan is an important part of the planning process. An open and honest discussion can ensure that your wishes are understood and carried out in an orderly and peaceful fa...


Reverse Mortgages Are Not For Everyone

August 29, 2016

More frequently, reverse mortgages are being discussed as a way to solve your money problems.  They are a fantastic option, in the right situation, but not everyone is in that situation. First of all, what is a reverse mortgage?  A reverse mortgage is a loan against the equity in your house that ...


College Students Need Estate Plans, Too

July 29, 2016

It’s that time of year when a new group of parents prepare to send their young adult children off to college. Books are purchased. Plans are made. Move in dates are scheduled. Students go off on their own; but, they are not quite grown. As a parent of a college bound child, have you thought about ...


Testamentary Capacity: Too Ill to Will?

June 30, 2016

In Arkansas, any person of sound mind who is eighteen years of age or older may make a Will. A person making a Will is known as the testator. “Of sound mind” has different meanings in different contexts. The legal concept of sound mind as it relates to the ability to make a valid Will is known a...


Managing an Empty House

June 16, 2016

For one reason or another, you may find yourself responsible for an empty house.  It could be because you divide your time between houses, a move to a care facility, a death, a tenant move, or a move across town.  When no one lives in a house, be sure you adequately protect the property. Alarm sy...


The Sandwich Generation

May 4, 2016

Many of us are members of the sandwich generation.  Not only are we caring for children, but we are also caring for our parents.  After wishing for more time and energy, the most useful items are legal documents.  We need the right legal documents for our parents, our children, and ourselves. Fo...


New ATF Rule 41 Will Affect Gun Trusts

April 8, 2016

The ATF released Rule 41F on January 4, 2016. Rule 41F amends firearms regulations regarding the making or transferring of NFA firearms.  It was specifically intended to address NFA firearms made or received by trusts or other legal entities. Rule 41F becomes effective July 13, 2016 and will affect...


Power of Attorney Basics

March 4, 2016

You have been appointed agent in an Arkansas power of attorney.  Now what? First check the document.  Is the power limited?  Are you only allowed to handle a real estate deal?  health decisions?  Is the power broad?  You can only act with the power given to you in the document.  Any action ...


Estate Planning Terms Defined: So that's what that means!!

February 26, 2016

To a lot of folks, legal terms are just like a mysterious foreign language. See the basics below and at least some of the mystery is solved. When you read a legal document and you come across a term which defies your understanding, ask your lawyer. Or get a head start and try these on for size. Dig ...


Is a Beneficiary Deed Right for You?

February 19, 2016

A beneficiary deed is a simple tool that property owners may use to make a non-probate transfer of real property immediately upon death.  A beneficiary deed is similar to a payable-on-death designation on your bank account. It allows for a quick and smooth transfer of property and is an inexpensiv...


I have a Will - Does it have to go through probate?...What exactly is probate?

February 12, 2016

Clients often visit my office and request trusts to avoid probate.  When pushed, very few can define probate and its requirements.  Probate is a division of the circuit court where judges handle cases concerning wills (among other things). When someone dies, the will does not automatically become...


Avoid the 9 Biggest Mistakes in Estate Planning

February 5, 2016

Many people have an estate plan but most plans have at least one of these common mistakes: 1.         No plan, the wrong plan, or an outdated plan.  Ninety percent of Americans have either no plan at all, the wrong plan, or an outdated plan.  As your life changes, your plan may need to b...


Yes! You Can Name a Beneficiary to Your Vehicle!

January 29, 2016

An easy way to plan your estate is with beneficiary designations on your assets.  Beneficiaries on bank accounts are POD (“payable on death”) designations.  Beneficiaries on investment accounts are TOD (“transfer on death”) designations.  You can even have beneficiaries on your real prope...


What Happens If I Die Without a Will?

January 22, 2016

I am too busy.  I do not want to think about it.  I will not be here, so I don't care.  Whatever your excuse, not planning your estate will have consequences. Right now the estate tax credit is so high that estates under $5,430,000 pay no estate tax.  But, we do not plan our estates just to dea...

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