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Conway Estate Planning Blog

Why create an asset protection plan?

You’ve been working for a long time, and retirement is now on the horizon. You’ve accumulated many assets and you may be wondering what you can do to protect them. With an asset protection plan, you can prevent someone from taking your property if they win a lawsuit against you.

How to protect your assets

How Arkansas residents can keep the peace with estate planning

Most people want to make sure that they leave their loved ones with not only fond memories but perhaps something that may benefit them financially. When Arkansas residents sit down to think about estate planning, they may also be thinking about how they can keep everyone happy and keep peace in the family. Deciding on who gets what can be stressful, especially when adult children are involved. 

If children aren't happy with what is in their parents' wills, it could cause tension between siblings and that is the last thing any parent wishes. One of the most important things parents can do when it comes to writing their estate plans is to talk to their kids about it. It may be a difficult subject to broach at first, but most parents will be glad they did since it might simplify the estate planning process for them and give their children the chance to weigh in with their wishes and opinions.

Making DIY changes to estate planning documents

There may be times when changes are needed to an estate plan. As life changes, Arkansas residents may be tempted to make estate planning changes on their own, but doing so may come with a number of problems down the road. It's true testators can make their own changes, but it is usually advisable to have an attorney at least have a look at those changes to make sure they adhere to state laws. 

A will can be revoked simply by destroying it or writing a new one and stating that any prior wills are revoked. However, when it comes to trusts, it might not be possible to amend them -- not even by the grantor, so an attorney needs to ensure whether changes, can, in fact, be made; in other words, whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable. A lawyer may also be able to offer advice on whether or not an estate plan should be updated at all.

It's necessary to properly title assets in estate planning

When an individual decides to write an estate plan, there are certain things he or she should know for the plan to be truly complete. For estate planning to be effective, Arkansas residents need to be sure that assets are titled properly — something with which a lawyer can help. Testators who want their assets distributed as they wish need to ensure this step takes place.

It's important to note that the will only disseminates the assets that are within the probated estate of an individual. Titled assets such as real estate usually pass directly to beneficiaries. Such is the instance of life insurance policies where the beneficiary directly controls the asset unless it moves to a trust. 

Estate planning is crucial for Arkansas entrepreneurs

One of the reasons people choose to write estate plans is for protecting the people and things that are important to them. It's no different for Arkansas residents who own businesses. Most want to ensure their estate planning paves the way for their businesses to continue without them, so there are some important things of which entrepreneurs should be aware when safeguarding their businesses as well as their loved ones. Savings and insurance are usually not enough, while comprehensive estate planning documents usually are.

There are a few documents that are necessary to safeguard a business: a financial power of attorney, a will and a living trust. They are essential for business owners to have in place for a successful business to continue to thrive after its owner is gone. Yet, many neglect to plan for the future in this way, according to a survey. A succession plan needs to be in place even for the smallest of businesses.

How trust funds protect your children

Protecting your children and giving them every opportunity to succeed is the goal of every parent. This may come in the form of helping them receive a great education or simply giving them the assets necessary to carve out their own path. Ultimately, the goal for many parents is to provide their children with the tools to allow them to live out their dreams.

The purpose of trust funds is to hold assets for a specific person. This makes them perfect for parents hoping to pass down their success to their children. Trust funds allow you to give your children financial security while managing the usage of your assets. As a result, they are a great way to protect both your interests and the future of your child.

How to title your car in the name of your trust

Many people create trusts with the idea of putting important property into it. Among the most common pieces of property people wish to include in their trusts are their vehicles. Placing a vehicle into a trust is smart because it will likely prevent it from going through probate and to your intended beneficiary.

Before any of that can happen, you must put have the vehicle titled into the name of your trust. If you miss this step, the vehicle will likely have to go through probate instead. Transferring your vehicle’s title to your trust is as easy as a trip to the Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicles, where you’ll complete a trustee's Statement for Certificate of Title.

The importance of an estate planning checklist

No one likes to think about dying, but if thinking about the welfare of loved ones left behind is part of the process, it is something that needs pondering. Estate planning is part of that process and Arkansas residents who want to ensure their loved ones are taken care of when they are no longer around may want to develop a planning checklist. Such a list will help individuals to have a comprehensive estate plan.

There's much more to an estate plan than a simple will to ensure a testator's wishes are carried out. Individuals need to take stock of all their assets and that means everything of value, either monetary or personal. This can be a time-consuming task, but integral to having a complete estate plan. This list should also include those assets which are intangible such as insurance policies and retirement plans.

Estate planning: Considerations about giving money away

Many people can make a big impact on the world once they've departed it. Part of estate planning for Arkansas residents entails how and to whom they will leave assets once they've died. The thought of giving money away comes with various emotions and before making decisions, and there are a few things testators should consider, such as whether giving can be a part of the scenario while living.

Some people may choose to give to their loved ones or charities before they die, but much depends upon how much money is involved and whether there will be enough left to live comfortably in retirement. Another consideration of estate planning is making sure the right beneficiaries are named on life insurance and retirement policies. When planning an estate, individuals also need to think about estate taxes -- something with which an attorney can help, along with a financial planner.

Trust administration: Settling a revocable living trust

Settling a revocable living trust upon the death of the trustmaker takes some know-how. Arkansas residents who have been given the task of trust administration of a loved one's trust should follow a certain guide map with the first task being to find the original estate planning documents along with others that coincide with a trust. Once documents have been found, the revocable living trust should be read and legal counsel obtained to move forward with the trustmaker's wishes.

The trustee administrator should make sure that the trust was signed and properly witnessed. He or she needs to review specifics of the trust looking for things like special instructions, beneficiaries and names of successor trustees, among other things. Assets need to be reviewed to see how they are titled -- whether they are in the name of the trust, the trustmaker's name or someone else's name.

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