Wills are perhaps the most well-known estate planning tools in Arkansas. However, they are far from the only option available to those who are ready to plan for the future. Trusts can also be a great option for many people, and in some cases may even be a better choice than using a will.
Estate planning is an important process for people of all income levels. Some people believe they do not need an estate plan or that perhaps all they need is a basic will because they are not rich and do not own significantly valuable assets. While a will is a good place to start, that is not all that a person may need for full legal protection. Trusts are an important tool that can benefit people who are not necessarily wealthy.
Disasters happen, and being prepared for them can mean the difference between leaving family members more despondent than they would be or having them breathe a collective sigh of relief. One of the ways Arkansas residents can be prepared for unforeseen events is by setting up trusts. A trust will likely round out an all-encompassing estate plan, which could also include a will and power of attorney.
Estate planning can be a little confusing. For instance, what is the difference between inter vivos and testamentary trusts? For Arkansas residents thinking about writing their estate plans, understanding these distinctions and how they play into planning is essential in maintaining control of the trust -- even, in many respects, after death. Inter vivos trusts are created while the grantor is alive and is not necessarily governed by a will, while a testamentary trust is one whose directives are included in and are a part of the will of a decedent.
There are many issues associated with estate planning. One of those concerns trusts and how they can work in an estate plan. When it comes to the family home in Arkansas, should it be included in a trust? There are both positives and negatives in this instance.
Once it has been determined that a revocable living trust is an essential part of an estate plan, it's important to know how to make changes to it. Such trusts give Arkansas residents the flexibility to make appropriate changes to the document keeping in line with life situation changes. This type of trust is not carved in stone and can actually be revoked at any time.
There are a few things about revocable trusts that a trustor should know prior initiating the trust process. Not everything in a revocable living trust is cut and dried. The more comprehensive trusts are, the better for beneficiaries in Arkansas. For instance, all the assets of the trustor should be included in the trust since anything left out could mean probate may be required. That means everything of value -- even property on which the trust maker was listed as a tenant in common.
Those who are thinking about planning their estates may want to give some consideration to revocable living trusts. These trusts may make sense for Arkansas residents who wish for their wills to bypass the probate process. Doing so may also help beneficiaries receive their inheritances sooner. Since trusts aren't a matter of public record, they may be the best avenue for those who place a lot of value on privacy since wills and probate are publicly accessible.