Travis W. Ford, Attorney At Law in Mountain Home, Arkansas

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Below are a variety of frequently asked questions that a comprehensive estate plan should address. Some questions prompt more questions,which is why we’re here to help. 

What if I am in need of long term care?

  • Will I qualify for Medicaid benefits?
  • Will staying in my home be a viable option?

What if I become incapacitated?

  • Who will speak to my healthcare providers on my behalf?
  • Will they know and understand my wants and desires?
  • Who will pay my bills for me?
  • Will they have access to my checking account?
  • Will someone have the authority to obtain a Reverse Mortgage on my behalf to supplement my income and pay for my care?

What happens when I die?

  • What will happen to my money, my home, and my things (i.e., my Estate)?  
  • Will my Estate be arranged in a way that minimizes tax liability?
  • If I have minor children, who will take care them?  
  • Will there be money available for my children’s care?
  • Will someone I know and trust see that my wants and wishes are carried out?

What can my family expect if I die without an Estate Plan? 

  • A percentage of the money and assets you intended to go to your children (or grandchildren) will likely go to a lawyer instead, for 'probating' your estate (typically 3% to 5% of the combined gross value of all your assets at the date of your death!);                                                                                                                                                   
  • Your children may have to wait close to a year or more to access any of your money or assets; and                                                                                              
  • A breeding ground may be created for disagreement and turmoil amongst your children, beneficiaries, heirs, etc.  

What are some of the basic elements of an Estate Plan?

  •  Will (usually a Pour Over Will);                                                              
  • Trust (usually a Living Revocable Trust);                                                         
  • Durable Power of Attorney (for business affairs);                                                                                
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (also called a Health Care Proxy);                                                             
  • Living Will (to give guidance to your Health Care Proxy and doctors);                                             
  • Quitclaim Deed(s) (used to fund your Trust);

The ‘Nuts & Bolts’ of a Living Revocable Trust:

  •  While you and your spouse are alive, you each serve as Trustees, maintaining absolute ownership and power over your money and assets that have been placed into your Trust;                                                                                        
  • You maintain the ability to buy, sell, and transfer assets;                                                    
  • When you and your spouse have both passed, your Estate Plan takes over and sees that all of your money and assets go directly to your children (or other beneficiaries), if they are of an appropriate age, or if they are not, then your money and assets are held in your Trust for the benefit of your children and are paid out to your children under whatever circumstances you direct.  In the latter case, a Successor Trustee pre-appointed by you manages your Trust assets according to your direction;                     
  • Your Estate Plan will also come into play in the event you become incapacitated for whatever reason so that your money and assets are continually managed and protected and used for your benefit and welfare; and                                                          
  • The time, cost, and publicity of probate are avoided!

What can I expect an Estate Plan to cost me?

  •  Estate plans should cost a mere fraction of the attorney’s fees, court costs, taxes (potentially) and other expenses associated with probate, that will occur if you pass without an estate plan – in short, spend a little now, save a bundle later;                                                                                      
  • All initial consults for prospective Estate Planning clients are FREE;                                                         
  • All Estate Planning packages are provided for a sensible Flat Fee, regardless of time spent with the client or drafting the Plan. Flat fees vary depending on the complexity of the plan (i.e., Will only, Power of Attorney only, Living Will only, Trust(s) only, or a combination thereof).

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