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Estate Planning for Families without Children

Individuals oftentimes become motivated to create an estate plan for their family once they have children, to name a guardian for their minor children and to ensure their minor children are cared for.

Sometimes the motivation is not there to create an estate plan for those without children. However, an estate plan is just as important for those without children, as it is for those with.

Who would receive your estate assets if you passed away today? If you die in Arkansas without a will, intestate succession statutes govern who is to receive your estate. Intestate succession depends on whether you have living children, a spouse, parents, and other close relatives.

Therefore, it is important to consider who you wish to be beneficiaries of your estate upon your death. You can make these wishes in your Last Will and Testament, or if you wish to avoid probate upon your death, you should consider creating a revocable living trust.

All of us run the risk of becoming incapacitated by reason of stroke, accident, or advanced age. Therefore, you should also consider executing a durable power of attorney. This is the most basic building block of an estate plan. A power of attorney is a legal document where you appoint a trusted person as your agent to act for you regarding management of your assets in the event of your incapacity. Our firm recommends your power of attorney be durable; this permits a power of attorney to remain effective despite your disability. However, it is necessary that your power of attorney express your intent that the power of attorney be “durable”.

Further, a living will and advance directive is an important document to consider. A Living Will is a document directing that your physician not take extraordinary medical steps to prolong your life in the event you are suffering from a terminal illness or injury from which you have little possibility of recovering. If you feel strongly about avoiding prolonged and expensive medical care in hopeless situations, you may also wish to utilize a Medical Power of Attorney. A Medical Power of Attorney is a document by which you appoint another trusted person to act on your behalf in the event you are unable to act for yourself, with regard to the hard decisions that must be made if you are terminally ill.

Tiffany Tucker is an associate attorney at Farrar & Williams, PLLC and can be contacted at 501-525-4401 or by email at tiffany@farrarwilliams.com.

By: Staff Writer