What happens to my property when I die? Seems like a straight forward question calling for a straight forward answer, right? Instead you get the typical (and frustrating) lawyer answer, “it depends.”
What happens to your property when you die depends on several things. It depends on whether you have a Will or other estate plan, whether the property is held jointly with others, the type of property it is, and whether you have unpaid debts.
Some property has to go through a court process known as probate before it is divided and some property does not. Sometimes the probate process can be simple and fast, if the estate is small, or sometimes it is complex and takes a long time, if the estate is large or if there is a dispute over property division.
If you spend the last part of your life in a nursing home and have to have Medicaid assistance to pay for the nursing home care, some or all of your property could end up going to the State to pay back your Medicaid long-term care bill.
Of course ultimately you want to have a say over who gets your property when you die. That is why estate planning is so important. With a good estate plan, your property will go exactly where you want it to when you pass away. Without an estate plan, your property will be divided based on Arkansas law, which may not be how you would want it divided.
At the very least, you should know the law and options available to you for the transfer of your property upon your death. In the coming weeks I will be writing a series of articles that explain Arkansas property and estate laws and ways you can plan to ensure your property transfers to the persons or entities that you want it to when you die.
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If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss planning for your estate you can call our offices at (501) 960-6060 or click here.