A Simple Will is a Myth
Despite what people think, there is no such thing as a simple Will.
Whatever isn’t a simple Will as it is written is included in the State law.
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A Will is a combination of what you wrote and State law. The shorter your Will, the more State law controls.
The Arkansas laws that control a simple Will and its administration are 388 pages long as of 2021. This doesn’t include the court cases that define and shape that law. All that State law is included in your Will by default unless you say otherwise.
Any authority or power you leave out of a Will is controlled by State law.
People ask me all the time why my Will is 38 pages long. It’s because I want as little State law used as possible. I want as much of the Wills I write to be used as possible. I leave very little up to State law. I also want my Wills to be as portable from state to state as possible.
Without authority explicitly granted, your executor must get permission from the Judge to do many things. You could have granted them the power to do these without a Judge’s involvement. Not granting authority is one of the most common mistakes I see. For example, if you don’t grant enough power in the Will to sell property, then the Judge must approve all sales, including a simple estate sale.
Imagine the delays it can cause if your family must ask the Judge for permission to do every little thing. That is the default.
I’ve had a whole lot of one page Wills come through lately. They really don’t do more than list the children and what they are to get. The rest of it was left up to the State. The State’s law will be used to make the rest of the decisions. The State’s law sets the timeline.
A short and simple Will may take longer to get through Probate. This is because of the delay of waiting on the Judge to sign orders and other paperwork.
A short and simple Will can cause more headaches and hassles than a comprehensive Will.
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