Fayetteville Wills Lawyer
What Can Happen if I Don’t Have a Will?
Many people believe that they don’t need a will. People state a variety of reasons as to why they think that their affairs will be handled and their property will be distributed correctly without their guidance. Some people may state that their family will figure it out for them. Other people may believe that they don’t have enough property, assets, or money for anyone to fight over. Still other people would just prefer to avoid thinking about the uncomfortable subject of end of life planning. Unfortunately, failing to engage in estate planning can have serious consequences for your loved ones.
If you have not considered estate planning in drafting a will, working with a careful and meticulous attorney can ensure that your property is distributed correctly and that your wishes are respected. The Fayetteville lawyers of Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP may be able to help. To schedule a confidential consultation call 479-439-9840 or contact us online.
If you do not have a will or have engaged in another form of estate planning, a number of negative consequences and circumstances can result. To start, you will be unable to appoint a trusted individual to act as the executor of your estate. The executor of your estate works to carry out your wishes faithfully. When you fail to appoint someone to act in this role, the court is often forced to substitute its judgment for your own.
Furthermore, without expressing your wishes as to how your property should be distributed, you cannot control which loved ones gets certain property or assets. If you wanted a certain item or asset to go to a friend or unrelated individual, that typically will not occur. Likewise, if you wanted to donate assets to a nonprofit or charitable organization that also will not typically occur.
Rather, your assets will pass according to Arkansas state law. This is known as dying “intestate.” While the rules can get particularly complex, we can look at a few scenarios of what will occur should the laws of intestacy be invoked. For instance, if an individual who passes away is married for at least three years and there are no children then the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire estate. However, in the same circumstances but when the marriages lasted for less than three years, the surviving spouse would only be entitled to half of the estate while the decedent’s parents, siblings and other relatives would divide the remaining half.
Who Can Execute a Will in Arkansas?
Most adults can execute a will in Arkansas. An adult is an individual who is 18 years or older. Aside from being an adult, the testator – the person making the will – must also have sufficient capacity. This means that here she must be a sound mind. While this sounds like it would be self-evident, people who wait until the ends of their lives, potentially when dementia and other conditions have compromised their faculties, increase the likelihood that the will is challenged successfully. Therefore, it is prudent to engage in estate planning as soon as possible.
Aside from the above characteristics, several other requirements must be met for the will to be valid. First, the will must be in writing. Oral wills are not valid in Arkansas. The will must also be signed by the individual creating the will. Furthermore, there must be a minimum of two witnesses who can attest to the fact that the testator signed the will. These witnesses must also sign the will after it has been signed by the testator.
Can I Change my Will?
Many people are hesitant to draft a will because they feel that there’s a certain sense of finality to drafting a document of this type. However, wills can be changed. However, you must be sure to modifier will according to Arkansas State law’s requirements so that your updated wishes are respected. Working with an experienced lawyer can increase the likelihood that this occurs.
Rely on the Experience of a Fayetteville, Arkansas Estate Planning Attorney
The attorneys of Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP are proud to serve Fayetteville and the surrounding towns and communities of Northwest Arkansas. We can help you draft the will and engage in other estate planning measures to ensure that your wishes are carried out even when you can no longer express them. To schedule a confidential consultation at our Fayetteville law offices directly off the Fulbright Expressway in Fayetteville, Arkansas call us at 479-439-9840 today or contact us online.