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Arkansas estate planning and privacy -- trusts vs. wills

It is rather difficult in this technological age to keep private matters private. Arkansas residents who are thinking of estate planning should know about the differences between will and trust-based estate plans if they wish to keep their private affairs under wraps. In essence, estate plans that are will-based eventually become a matter of public record and anyone can access personal information contained in a will. 

Wills must be filed with local probate courts and as such anyone can ask to see one once it is filed. That means anyone who sees it will know what the testator owns, who the beneficiaries are and who isn't named in the will. Anyone viewing the document will also see personal information like addresses and phone numbers. 

Estate plans that are trust-based remain private. A revocable living trust not only allows an individual to retain control over the trust. Trusts do not need to go through probate and thus aren't open to public scrutiny. So, if privacy matters to residents regarding their estate plans, they may wish to discuss trusts with their attorneys.

An Arkansas estate planning attorney will be able to more concisely explain the differences between wills and trusts and the benefits of each. It may be that some residents are not concerned with maintaining privacy when it comes to their estate plans. An estate planning lawyer can also work toward making sure his or her client's life savings end up in the hands of the beneficiaries specified upon the death of his or her client.

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