The Caring.com 2023 survey revealed that two out of every three people in the U.S. do not have an estate plan. One of the foundations of a good plan is a will.
Creating a valid will in Arkansas involves adhering to specific legal requirements to ensure proper documentation of your final wishes. Understanding these requirements helps guarantee the validity of your will.
Age and mental state
You must be of sound mind and at least 18 years old to create a valid will in Arkansas. Being of sound mind means you understand the nature of creating a will, the extent of your property and the individuals you are designating as beneficiaries.
The will must be in writing, either handwritten or typewritten. Arkansas law does not recognize oral wills, so it is essential to document your wishes in a tangible form. While holographic, or handwritten, wills are valid, it is advisable to type it out to avoid potential challenges due to illegibility or misinterpretation.
You must sign the document at the end, or if you are physically unable to sign, another person can sign on your behalf at your direction and in your presence. Additionally, the signing must take place in the presence of at least two credible witnesses who must also sign the document. These witnesses confirm that you voluntarily signed the will and that you are of sound mind.
Expression of intent
Arkansas law requires that the will includes a clear expression of your intent to distribute your property upon your death. Be specific in identifying your beneficiaries and the assets they will inherit. Vague or ambiguous language may lead to confusion and potential legal challenges.
If you wish to make changes to your will, you must follow the proper legal procedures. This involves creating a new will or adding a codicil, which is a separate document specifically addressing the changes. Any alterations must meet the same legal requirements as the original will to be valid.
Understanding and adhering to these legal requirements for a valid will in Arkansas empowers you to effectively communicate your wishes and provides assurance that the handling of your estate will follow your intentions. By following the established guidelines, you contribute to a smoother probate process, minimizing the potential for disputes or challenges to the validity of your will.