This article originally appeared in the July edition of Soiree Magazine’s e-newsletter, “The Work Wife.”
Although proper estate planning is important for everyone, the below statistics give some indications of how it can often more directly affect women:
- Women statistically live longer than men;
- Women are more likely to take time away from careers to raise children and can often face financial challenges as a result; and
- Women are predominantly named the custodial parent of minor children.
The fact that women tend to live longer than men means that it is often women who are faced with the task of estate administration and planning.
General Estate Planning
Although Arkansas laws outline the method for distributing property when an individual dies without a proper will, in many cases, these rules do not distribute property in the way most people would expect. If an individual dies without a will and is married, most property held solely in that individual’s name, including a home, would pass to that individual’s children instead of to that individual’s spouse. This can be particularly problematic if the decedent is survived by minor children. Because minor children cannot control property in Arkansas, the surviving parent would be forced to seek a guardianship of the estate of his or her children in order to control the home. This example of unexpected asset distribution can be avoided with proper planning.
Special Needs Planning
Proper estate planning is vital when planning for the future of a loved one with special needs. Effective estate planning helps to legally protect assets for the benefit of a loved one with special needs so as to retain or obtain eligibility for essential benefits such as Medicaid. In addition to maintaining eligibility for certain programs, estate planning permits an individual to express their desires for the future care of a loved one.
Business Succession Planning
Business succession planning is of vital importance to closely held business owners when structuring an estate plan. This portion of the estate planning process permits a business owner to plan for the future management and control of a business when the individual is no longer capable of managing the day-to-day affairs. The goal of business succession planning is to create a more seamless transition for all parties involved.
There are many ways to establish an effective estate plan, and each estate plan should reflect the wishes and specific circumstances of an individual. At Wright Lindsey Jennings, we strive to take a topic that is often perceived as difficult and have real conversations with our clients about how to accomplish their unique goals.
With an LL.M. in Taxation, Kayleigh Dulaney advises individuals, partnerships, closely held businesses and charitable organizations in a diverse range of tax-related areas including entity formation, real estate transactions, corporate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and federal and state tax law. She also provides clients with planning services such as succession planning, estate planning, probate administration, and the preparation of wills and powers of attorney, and also focuses on planning for families with special needs. Kayleigh advises nonprofit entities in applying for, obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status.
Kirby D. Miraglia serves as counsel to individuals, public entities and private companies in transactional and corporate matters. Kirby regularly advises individual clients on their estate plans, including the preparation of wills, trusts, durable general powers of attorney and healthcare directives such as the Living Will. Additionally, she advises closely held business owners on the importance of their estate plans as it relates to business succession planning. Kirby also routinely advises clients on corporate matters such as formation and incorporation, governance and operations, and dissolution, while concentrating on mergers and acquisitions on the transactional side. Additionally, Kirby serves as counsel to a number of county and municipal governments on a variety of municipal law and finance issues.