No one likes to think about what will happen after they die. However, utilizing an estate plan can alleviate stress on your family members following your passing. You do not want your loved ones to encounter issues satisfying the debts of your estate or making end-of-life decisions without any guidance. An Arkansas estate planning lawyer can help you develop an estate plan that protects your assets and informs your family members on how to proceed after your death. Contact Harris Law Firm today to discuss your estate planning needs.

What Is an Estate Plan?

Some people mistakenly believe that only families with significant assets can benefit from an estate plan. This is simply not the case. Planning for your future is a critical step for any family, regardless of financial status. A basic estate plan might include:

  • A last will and testament,
  • Healthcare directives, and
  • Durable powers of attorney.

Families with more assets might elect for a more complex estate plan that offers certain tax benefits. Contact an Arkansas estate planning lawyer at the Harris Law Firm today to discuss what kind of estate plan fits your needs. 

What Is a Will?

A will is usually the first document that people think about when you mention an estate plan. The will details the distribution of your assets following your death and names the beneficiaries of your estate. Beneficiaries are the people you named to inherit your assets. Your will should also include details about how you want your property to be distributed. Additionally, if you have minor children, you can name a guardian in your will.

Healthcare Directives

An advance healthcare directive provides instructions to your loved ones concerning your healthcare choices in the event you become incapacitated or unable to communicate your wishes. These choices might include:

  • Whether doctors should use extraordinary measures to prolong your life,
  • Whether you wish to donate your organs, and
  • Instructions regarding your remains.

End-of-life care is a difficult topic to discuss with your family. However, an advance healthcare directive is a critical part of your estate plan. Contact a lawyer at our Arkansas estate planning law firm to help you create these essential documents.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney outlines who controls your assets if you become incapacitated. Your agent makes decisions on your behalf, but you can limit what kind of decisions your agent can make for you. For example, you can allow your agent to make only financial determinations, not healthcare decisions. You should select someone you trust to serve as your power of attorney. They carry the responsibility of making sure that your wishes are respected if you become incapacitated. 

When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Estate planning is not a one-time process. Instead, you need to update your estate plan as your life and circumstances change. The events that will likely create the need to update your estate plan could include:

  • Birth of another child,
  • Divorce,
  • Re-marriage,
  • Purchasing a new house,
  • Inheriting a large sum of money,
  • Birth of a grandchild,
  • Purchase of a large asset,
  • Move to a different state,
  • Purchase or sale of a business,
  • Retirement,
  • Death of a loved one, or
  • Incapacitation of a beneficiary.

Any of these events might result in changes to your estate plan. Our team at the Harris Law Firm is here to assist you every step of the way. We can guide you through your options and help you understand the impact of your estate planning decisions. Contact us today to get started.

What Happens If I Do Not Create an Estate Plan? 

If you die without a will, that is called dying intestate. If you die intestate, your state’s intestate succession rules dictate what happens to your assets. Your personal wishes for your estate will not come into the picture, and your assets will be distributed according to state law. This could result in your property being distributed to people you did not want to receive any assets.

Contact an Arkansas Estate Planning Attorney at the Harris Law Firm Today

Since 1981, the Harris Law Firm, PLLC, has been providing sophisticated legal expertise throughout Mississippi and Arkansas. We pride ourselves on offering top-quality legal services to all of our clients. We take the time to get to know each of our clients personally so we can determine how to best serve their interests. With our team of estate planning lawyers, you can rest easy knowing that your estate plan is in the hands of competent, experienced legal professionals. Contact us today to get started on your estate plan.