Because you do not have much in the way of money or assets in Arkansas, you may not think you need to worry much about estate planning. If you delay too long and do not get around to drawing up a will before you pass, what happens to any assets, property or children you leave behind?
To help stress the importance of a will, look to CNN Money. Understand how state and probate law handle your will when you fail to plan your estate.
When it comes to deciding who gets your money when you die without a will, the most recent state laws have the most say in the matter. If you do not have a spouse or kids, your next of kin inherit your money. On the other hand, you may have named beneficiaries on an insurance policy. If so, those individuals receive your death benefit.
In terms of estate taxes, this is another area where state law takes over. Estate taxation depends on how much your estate is worth. Anyone who does not have a will could receive a harder tax hit, because she or he may otherwise qualify for tax benefits. That means your next of kin receive less of your estate.
Maybe you currently have minor children or plan on having or adopting some in the future. If you pass without a will, you have no say in who becomes their guardian. It becomes up to the court and state to decide who takes care of your children, a decision you may not care for.
This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.