A Will is a legal document that tells the world who is to receive your assets at your death. You can also name guardians for any dependent children. Without a Will, a court will ultimately decide what happens to your assets, who will be responsible for your kids, etc. It is also important to understand that a Will, by itself, will not keep your estate out of probate – a state court administered process that is generally very expensive, long and drawn out, and public!
A Trust is a mechanism that, like a Will, can also be used to make it known exactly who is to get what of your assets at your death. Unlike a Will, however, a Trust is generally much more useful in that it enables you to put conditions on how certain assets are to be distributed at your death, and it provides a very specific plan as to how your assets are to be used to care for you, your spouse, and/or your children should you become disabled and unable to tend to your own business. In this sense, a Trust not only plays a critical role at your death, but it can also play a vital role insuring your and your family’s wellbeing while you’re alive but incapacitated. As a parent, Trusts are very helpful when leaving money and assets to your minor children since the money is managed by a handpicked Trustee for the benefit of the children and not distributed to the children until they have reached a certain age or met certain conditions. And perhaps best of all, a Trust can allow for your estate to skip probate entirely!
A Durable Power of Attorney is generally intended to give your named Agent the power to tend to your business on your behalf usually in the event of your incapacity. This document can give your Agent broad powers to dispose of, sell, convey and encumber your real and personal property or it can be limited to whatever extent you choose.
A Living Will makes known to your doctors and loved ones your specific wishes for healthcare measures (or lack of healthcare measures) in the event you are unable communicate. By preparing your Living Will before the often intense, emotional times experienced when facing end-of-life issues, you offer those closest to you relief from the burden and stress of trying to guess what your wishes might be.
The Health Care Power of Attorney gives your named agent the power to make medical decisions on your behalf and sign consents and releases with hospitals and doctors. It can authorize your health care providers to release your otherwise confidential medical information to the individuals you have designated to act on your behalf in the event of your inability to do this on your own.
Family Law services pertain to Divorce, Child Custody, Adoptions,Guardianships, and other such matters.
Travis W. Ford is certified by the State of Arkansas to mediate civil and domestic (i.e., family law) cases. Mediation is an alternative to our generally more expensive and more stressful adversarial court system. Parties can still be represented by legal counsel at mediation. Statistics strongly indicate that when parties reach an agreed upon court order through mediation, they are much more likely to end up with an order that best suits everyone’s needs and to stick to the terms of that order than if a third party (i.e., a judge) creates the order. Simply put, Mediation allows the parties to own the process and the resulting order.