There are many different ways to ensure that your estate is administered and your assets are transferred to your heirs or beneficiaries without the need for probate or court intervention. Every person’s situation is different and what works for one person may not work for another. It is so crucial that you get the advice of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to make sure that your estate plan is customized according to your specific set of circumstances.
The following is a short list of estate planning tools that can help you avoid probate in Arkansas:
1. Beneficiary Deed - a beneficiary deed is a wonderful tool that allows you to execute and record a deed now that will transfer ownership and possession of your property to a certain person immediately upon your passing and not before. This allows that property to avoid probate.
2. Life Estate Deed - a life estate deed is similar to a beneficiary deed except that with a life estate deed, you retain a life estate interest in the property but ownership and possession of your property transfers to a certain person immediately upon recording rather than waiting until your passing. This allows that property to avoid probate.
3. A Trust Estate Plan - a trust estate plan, if done properly, can protect your estate and assets from probate. A Will DOES NOT avoid probate.
4. Beneficiary Designations - having proper beneficiary designations on your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies will ensure that those accounts and funds avoid probate in Arkansas.