Estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of whether they are single, married, or divorced. While many people think they do not need to write a will or found a trust if they do not have children, they should still make arrangements to protect their health and ensure their loved ones inherit a worry-free legacy.
Why an Estate Plan Is Important
Even if you do not have children, you may still have assets—such as a house, car, or stock portfolio—that you would like to pass on to heirs or charity after you have died. However, ensuring that your intended beneficiaries receive their inheritance takes some preparation.
Arkansas, like almost every state in the nation, has special probate courts designed to oversee the settlement of estates. If you die without a will or a trust, then the probate court will consider you to have died “intestate” and will distribute your assets according to a pre-defined legal formula. That means that your possessions could go to relatives with whom you do not have a close or amicable relationship.
You may also wish to make preparations for worst-case scenarios. A living will, for instance, allows you to set your own conditions for end-of-life medical care, rather than potentially putting your life in the hands of an impartial judge or unfamiliar doctor.
What to Consider When Planning Your Estate
When you are getting started on your estate plan, you will want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Who do I want as an executor? An executor is the person who will initiate probate proceedings, pay off your estate debts, and distribute assets to your heirs. While an executor can be a loved one or an experienced attorney, they should have the time, capacity, and willingness to protect your legacy.
- Who do I want to name as heirs? Even if you are planning to leave most of your possessions to charity, it is still important to put your selections on paper. If you do not have a clear, unambiguous will, then an estranged relative or another party could challenge your estate in court.
- What will happen to my pets? If you have a dog, cat, snake, or parakeet, you will want to account for them in your estate plan, too. You can name a pet guardian in your will or establish a living trust that would cover your pet’s veterinary and maintenance expenses for the rest of its life.
Contact Us Today
Your estate is unique and should be treated as such. Quraishi Law can help you create a customized estate plan that protects your health as well as your assets. To learn more, send us a message online to schedule your free consultation.