Home  |  Location  |  Contact Us  |  Legal Q & A  |  Resources  |  E-News  |  Sign Up for Our E-News

Our law firm provides general
law services, including:

Estate Planning
     Wills, Trusts, Probate,
     Health Care Proxies,
     Powers of Attorney, Living Wills,
     Tax and Probate Avoidance

Elder Law
     Guardianships, Conservatorships,
     Medicare, Medicaid and
     Assisted Living

Adoption
     Adoptions for Single Parents, Parents,
     Blended Families, Grandparents,
     New Babies, DHS - Department of
     Human Services

Family Law
     Domestic Relations, Divorce
Business and Corporate Law
     Incorporating, Limited Liability
     Company, and Debt Collection

Real Estate Law
     Contracts, Deeds, Notes, Mortgages
Personal Injury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Estate Planning Q & As

What must I know before I do my estate planning?

You must know your natural heirs, what you own and to whom you want to leave your estate.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is planning for your future, whether you live too long or when you die. It involves preparing your last will, living trust, power of attorney and advanced directives.

What are advanced directives?

Advanced directives are documents that you sign ahead of time, giving instruction for future occurrences. They include health care proxies and living wills. Health care proxies name someone to make health care decisions for you if you are not able to make them yourself. A living will is your statement that in the event that there is no hope of your recovery, you do not want to be kept alive by artificial life support.

Why does a person need a will?

If you die without a will, the state will direct how your property will be distributed. All jointly owned property will go to the surviving joint owner. All property owned just in your name alone will, after your death, be probated, with one-third going to your spouse, if you have one, and two-thirds going to your children, if you have any. If you have no spouse and no children, everything goes to your parents, if they are alive; if they are not alive, everything goes to your brothers and sisters, if they are alive; if they are not alive, everything goes to their children. In addition to the other expenses your estate will incur in probate, your administrator will have to post a bond to serve. This is an additional expense you can avoid with a will.

Why should I do a living trust?

You should consider a living trust as a way to protect your estate if you live too long and to transfer your estate at the time of your death without the expense or time of probate. If you live too long, become incompetent and are not able to manage your assets, you have named a person to handle your assets for your benefit until you die. By doing this, you avoid the expense of setting up a guardianship.

What should I put in my trust?

We recommend that you put all of your property and estate in your trust except for retirement benefits. If you are married your spouse should be the primary beneficiary of your retirement benefits and the trust should be the secondary beneficiary.

If I have a living trust, do I need a will?

Yes. Your will serves as a safety net. It will catch anything that you do not get put into your trust during your lifetime and will pour it over into your trust after your death. A will can also provide for the guardian of your minor children should you die while you have minor children.

When is an estate large enough to justify a trust?

If your estate is larger than $50,000 then we would strongly encourage you to consider a trust. One of the main benefits is to avoid probate expenses at your death. However, a secondary benefit of a trust is to avoid guardianship proceedings later in life.

What about a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is an excellent document; however, it cuts with a two-edged sword. The word attorney originally meant someone who represented you or stood in your place. When you give someone your power of attorney, that person has the power to act for you. A durable power of attorney gives someone the power to act in your place even if you become incapacitated. Our firm tells clients that if you give someone your power of attorney and that person gets mad at you, you need to revoke the power of attorney or that person can sell all of your assets and do with the proceeds whatever that person chooses.

My spouse recently died. Should I put my children's names on accounts?

We discourage our clients from putting their children's names on their bank accounts or title to their property. Anything with your child's name on it, even if it originally belonged to you, is subject to the creditors of your child. If you have placed your child's name on your account, at your death that account belongs to that child. In order for that child to transfer part of that account to his or her siblings, that child must make a gift and could possibly use up part of his or her unified credit or have to pay a gift tax.

DISCLAIMER:  The information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We ask you to contact us by telephone, letter or electronic mail. However, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send us any confidential information until requested.



Home | Adoption | Business & Corporate Law | Family Law | Elder Law | Estate Planning | Legal Q & A
Resources | Location | Our Practice | Personal Injury | Real Estate Law | E-News | Sign up for our E-News | Contact Us
© The Strother Firm, P.A. • #1 Cedar Square, 210 E. Seventh Street, Mountain Home, AR 72653 • Fax (870) 425-1146 • Phone (870) 425-3464
We accept these major credit cards. Email Lane Strother  •   Email Judith Strother  •   Email Jodi Strother