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Estate Planning & Probate

Probate is the process by which a person’s estate is settled or distributed after death. It is generally the process by which a deceased individual’s property is distributed to his or her heirs whether they are blood relations or beneficiaries from a will.

General Information:

It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in, you and your family will always need some estate planning. Everyone has an estate. This estate consists of everything you own – home, real estate, furniture, personal property (including jewelry, knick knacks, etc.), vehicles, checking and savings accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance, and retirement accounts.

Estate planning does not look the same for everyone. But being prepared and controlling how and to whom your estate is given when you die or become incapacitated is something all adults need to do. This is necessary to ensure your personal wishes are carried out (and not what the state of Arkansas dictates). In order to do this, you must provide a set of written instructions. This is the basis of estate planning – making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. However, thorough estate planning may need to include more than a basic will.

At Jacobs Law, PLLC, our estate planning process takes into account and includes:

    • Instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
    • Specific provisions for loved ones who may be irresponsible with an inheritance or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
    • Instructions on how to name the proper beneficiary of life insurance proceeds and retirement accounts.
    • Instructions for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
    • Naming a guardian and inheritance manager for minor children.
    • Provisions for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.

Many of our clients are extremely concerned about minimizing administrative hassles, court intervention, taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees. We strongly believe that when a crisis occurs, your plan should be in place so that your family avoids as much of these expenses as possible.

Everyone needs to plan their estate. Estate planning is not just for “older” people, “retired” people, or the very wealthy. Everyone should plan their estate, and if you do not plan ahead, the state of Arkansas will have a default plan for you – but likely not the plan you desire.

If you become disabled, the court will determine how your assets are invested and used. If you have a minor child or children, and both parents die without an estate plan, the court will determine who raises your child and manages their inheritance. Also, any inheritance will be given outright to the child or children at age 18. It is rarely a wise plan to immediately provide a large amount of funds to an 18 year old with no restrictions. Inheritance issues become much more complicated if you are in second marriage and other such situations.

Our clients prefer to handle these matters privately, within the family, as opposed to through the courts.

Estate planning can provide peace of mind. When you know you have properly prepared and planned your estate, this will give you and your family peace of mind. Planning your estate is one of the most kind and considerate things you can do for yourself and your family. Having an attorney who is willing to sit down with you, get to know your family, goals, dreams and aspirations is an extraordinary relief and benefit.

At Jacobs Law, PLLC, we are committed to providing the very best legal counsel so that you and your family are taken care of now and in the future. We know that the success of your estate plan depends on maintaining the plan. As your life changes, your family changes, the law changes, and your estate plan needs to be updated. Our attorneys are committed to the successful maintenance of your estate plan, and will maintain periodic communication with you regarding plan review, changes in the law, and other matters pertinent to your estate plan.