Little Rock Estate Planning Attorneys
Serving all of Arkansas with offices in Little Rock, Searcy, and Stuttgart
I see it as Niblock & Associate’s Christian mission to help good folks achieve peace of mind and show their love for family by practicing “Preventative Law” through planning for the possibility of their disability or the certainty of their death by avoiding the terrible consequences of no planning, out of date planning, or bad planning. Our mission is accomplished by taking time to understand their family dynamics, their concerns, and goals and design a comprehensive plan to suit their family’s specific needs. We then use legal planning tools to express their wishes. These properly executed legal tools will minimize family conflict, expensive, public, and prolonged litigation, and by providing a smooth transfer of their property ensuring their hard-earned inheritance won’t be squandered, taken by creditors, or end up with someone they never intended so they, and their family can focus on living their best Christian life.
What is an Estate in Arkansas?
Many folks think of an “Estate” as a giant plot of land and a mansion with luxurious gardens and extensive landscaping all maintained by domestic servants at the beckoned call of extremely wealthy people. While you can certainly use the word this way, in Arkansas law, everyone has an “Estate.” In Arkansas, an “Estate” simply refers to all the property, whether real estate or personal property, a person owns at their death.
What is an Estate Plan in Arkansas?
When you die, your Estate must go somewhere, which is why estate planning is critical. An “Estate Plan” is the official legal plan for what happens to the property you own when you have passed this life.
Even if you don’t believe your estate has much value, your loved ones could greatly benefit from it, and it is worthy of planning to maximize the benefits to the people you love and want to care for.
Why Should I Have an Estate Plan in Arkansas?
My mom always said: “Boy! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” This is so true in the world of Estate Planning in Arkansas and is why we truly enjoy helping people practice Preventative Law, so they can avoid paying the “pound of cure” in more ways than just money!
Think about all the problems your family or friends must deal with once you die. Each of these problems must be resolved if you have not clearly and specifically made your wishes known. Consider the family conflict that can arise over who should get what property and how they should receive it if you don’t clearly direct it in a legally binding way. Additionally, consider the cost in time, emotion and money necessary to fight it out in court, not to mention the airing of “dirty laundry” in a public legal contest.
We can help you be the Family Hero and show your love for them by using the legal tools available to us at Niblock & Associates to devise a comprehensive estate plan for you. We love practicing Preventative Law, if you want to follow my mom’s advice, contact us now to invest that ridiculously small “ounce of prevention” to avoid your family from having to pay a “pound of cure” in time, money, and unnecessary family drama. Be Your Family’s Hearo! To see how you can qualify for a free consultation, call us today at (501) 299-5963 or fill out our online contact form.
What Happens if Someone Dies Without an Estate Plan in Arkansas?
Without planning, where your property goes and how and when it is transferred is determined by the Arkansas Probate Code, called “intestate succession,” We call it “The Government Plan.” The Government Plan is a one size fits all plan that does not consider who you want to receive your property or how they are to receive it. Under the Government Plan, someone interested in your estate, even a creditor you may owe money to, can file a lawsuit in Probate court where a Judge appoints someone to process your estate called an Administrator. An Administrator manages your estate by gathering all your property together, giving notice to anyone that may have a claim against you or your estate, preparing and filing an Inventory of your property, selling property to pay the cost of administering your estate, then pay any claims against your estate, and then disburses the remaining property or money to the people named under the Government’s Plan.
Typically, intestate succession, as directed by the Arkansas Probate Code, “The Government’s Plan,” gives most of your leftover property to your spouse and/or children. Initially, this may sound reasonable; however, remember the court must follow the one size fits all Governments’ Plan and can exclude people important to you, give property to people you don’t want to receive your property, or give property to people all at once, and without any safeguards, allowing it to be lost to creditors or squandered due to financial immaturity or destructive behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, or gambling of the recipient.
Contact the Niblock & Associates team of Estate Planning attorneys ready to help Little Rock residents, as well as residents across Arkansas served through our Little Rock, Searcy, and Stuttgart offices. Let us help you Be Your Family’s Hearo! To see how you can qualify for a free consultation, call us today at (501) 299-5963 or fill out our online contact form.
Estate Planning Through Wills
What is a Will in Arkansas?
A Last Will & Testament or “Will” passes your property after your death to your named recipients, called “Beneficiaries,” all at once. It can be as specific or as broad as you wish. You could, for instance, leave specified pieces of your stamp collection to a friend or simply give the entire collection to your spouse.
When you use a Will, to transfer title of your property to your beneficiaries your property must go through a process called Probate which is usually filed by the person you named as Executor of your Will. During probate, your leftover debts are paid, and ownership of your property is officially transferred to your beneficiaries as directed by your Will.
How Should I Chose the Executor of My Will in Arkansas?
The Executor of your estate, with the assistance of your attorney, oversees the Probate process. Your properly crafted Will should appoint a responsible person as your Executor who will carry out your wishes and cooperate with your attorney in guiding the Probating of your Will through the process. It is also best to have someone living in Arkansas to fulfill that roll.
When and How Does a Will Become Effective?
A Will becomes effective upon your death and your Executor probating your Will. Probating a Will generally requires presenting your Will to the Probate court along with a Petition asking the Court to declare you are deceased, you had a Will, and the Will submitted is your Last Will and Testament. The Petition will also indicate who you wanted the Executor of your Will to be and request the Court to nominate that person. Once the Judge declares your Will is in fact valid, opens your estate and appoints your Executor, your Executor can start taking actions to fulfil your wishes through the probate process.
Our team can help you craft a solid Will to protect your wishes from being challenged by unhappy people. To contest your Will someone could allege your Will is defective, you didn’t have the proper mental capacity, that someone exercised undue influence over you, that there was some fraud involved, that there was a failure to comply with the technical signing requirements, or a failure to use the required legal terminology.
We at Niblock & Associates have been drafting Wills and probating estates since 1988. Let us show you how to Be Your Family’s Hearo! To see how you can qualify for a free consultation, call us today at (501) 299-5963 or fill out our online contact form, so we can help you show your love for family by minimize family conflict by providing specific directions of who is to get what and how. We know the required legal language to keep transactions straightforward and free of misinterpretation. We can also help you choose an Executor who is responsible and will fulfill your wishes as well as the legal requirements of Probate. More importantly, by us taking the time to get to know you and your family situation, we can help you identify any serious problems that might arise and provide ways head them off.
Estate Planning and Trusts
What is a Trust?
A Trust is an arrangement where the person creating the Trust, called a “Trust Maker,” gives the person responsible for the Trust, called a “Trustee,” the right to hold and manage property and pay out or transfer property to beneficiaries of the Trust according to the Trust Maker’s directions. Where a Will is designed to transfer, or pay, the net property of your estate to your beneficiaries in lump sums after you die, a Trust acts as a living entity beginning when you create the Trust and ending when and how you say. Your Trust can be effective during your life, during your inability to manage your affairs, and continue after your death.
What is a Trustee in Arkansas?
A Trustee is a person obligated to handle your Trust assets according to the written terms of your Trust and solely for the best interests of the Beneficiaries. Your Trustee can have the power to buy and sell property for the estate, make pay outs, make investments, collect money from your investments, require the beneficiaries meet requirements you specify before receiving funds, and so on.
What Type of Trusts are there in Arkansas?
There are different types of Trusts that can be created to serve a variety of proposes. The two (2) major types of Trusts are those created during the Trust Maker’s lifetime and those created after the Trust Maker’s death. Although there are many Types of Trusts you could create during life, by far the most common is the “Revocable Living Trust.” A Trust created after your death is called a “Testamentary Trust.”
How Does a Trust Work in Arkansas?
A “Revocable Living Trust” is created during your lifetime and can be changed or terminated at any time. You, as the Trust Maker, can be your own Trustee and manage the Trust property as you see fit. There are no tax consequences to creating this Trust. If you become unable to manage your affairs, a backup Trustee you specify in your Trust will take over and manage your Trust without going to Court. Additionally, upon your death, your designated Trustee will manage your Trust and disburse your Trust property to your named Beneficiaries according to your specific directions, without having to go through Probate Court.
A “Testamentary Trust” is created after your death. Specifically, with a Testamentary Trust, your Trust is included in your Will and is not created until after your death and your Will being Probated. Then the Probate Judge must approve the transferring of your property into the Trust. A Testamentary Trust can be set up, in many respects, just like any other Trust.
How Can a Trust Help in Arkansas?
A Revokable Living Trust can help you plan for the possibility of becoming mentally unable to manage your affairs and for the certainty of your eventual death by minimizing family conflict. This is accomplished by minimizing the expensive, public, and prolonged probate court process. Moreover, a Trust can provide a smooth transfer of your property ensuring your hard-earned inheritance won’t be squandered, taken by creditors, or end up with someone your never intended.
Why Call Niblock & Associates for Estate Planning Using a Trust?
Our Christian mission is helping people show their love of family through the priceless gift of planning for the possibility of becoming unable to manage their affairs and for the certainty of their eventual death. We place a high priority on helping people preserve family harmony and enjoy getting to know you and your family dynamics. This allows us to help you customize a comprehensive plan and plot a course to avoid ripping your family apart once you are gone or unable to make decisions for yourself by clearly outlining your wishes.
We can help you chart a course using a Trust to avoid exposing your loved ones to the long and expensive, probate process. Probate seems to produce family conflict just by its nature of being court litigation. We can help you avoid the completely public nature of Probate. Remember, Probate Court is public record where anyone can view the details of your death, where you lived, the names and addresses of your heirs and beneficiaries, what type of property you have and its value as well as who will receive it and when.
We can help guide you through the process of using a Trust to provide a smooth transfer of your property and set up measures to guard the hard-earned inheritance you leave your loved ones from being squandered due to being financially immature, having an addiction problem, or just never understanding the value of a dollar. We can also show you how to guard against your inheritance being taken by loved ones’ creditors, lawsuits or future spouses or ex-spouses and against the nightmare of it ending up with someone your never intended.
Additionally, if you have minor children, we can guide you in selecting a Trustee that will reflect your values of parenting to oversee the funds that will support them, and help you provide guidance in what type of opportunities you want your children to have with the inheritance you leave.
Trust the Little Rock attorneys at Niblock & Associates who serve all of Arkansas through their Little Rock, Searcy, and Stuttgart offices, with your estate planning needs. We are ready to help you Be Your Family’s Hearo! To see how you can qualify for a free consultation, call us today at (501) 299-5963 or fill out our online contact form
What are the Differences between a Will and a Trust, In Arkansas?
Here is a quick basic list of differences between a Will and Trust in Arkansas:
Revocable Living Trust
Requires Probate Court
No Probate Court
No Asset Protection
Beneficiary Asset Protection Against:
Open to Public
Effective upon Death
You can be your own Trustee
No Help if you become disabled
Backup Trustee cares for your Trust and your financial needs
Time lag from death to beneficiaries receiving any funds
No time lag for beneficiaries of Trust to receive funds after your death
Less Expensive to Set Up
More Expensive to Set Up
Cost to Probate
Minimal, if any, cost to Probate Cost
No help with blended family issues
Helps with Blended Families issues
Can Appoint Guardian for Minor Child after your death
Needs other documents to appoint Guardian for Minor Child after death
Requires court to appoint Guardian of Minor children’s financial needs
Can financially provide for needs of Minor Children without court
Contact the Niblock & Associates team of Estate Planning attorneys so we can guide you through our Comprehensive Planning Process to determine the best Estate Planning rout for your specific situation. We would love to get to know you and your family and show you how you Be Your Family’s Hearo! We are ready to help Little Rock residents, as well as residents across Arkansas served through our Little Rock, Searcy, and Stuttgart offices. To see how you can qualify for a free consultation, call us today at (501) 299-5963 or fill out our online contact form.
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