How to Write a Will in Arkansas

by Bernadette A. Safrath

A person can make a will in Arkansas if she is the proper age and mental status. The law also sets forth the procedure a testator, the person making the will, must follow in order for the document to be recognized by an Arkansas probate court. When the state's requirements are not met, a decedent's estate will pass according to Arkansas' "intestate" laws, as if the decedent did not have a will.

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Step 1

Determine whether you meet the requirements to make a will. In Arkansas, a testator, the person making the will, must be at least 18 years old. She must also be "of sound mind," meaning competent to act and make decisions for herself.

Step 2

Compile a list of the assets in your estate in preparation of making the will. This is especially important because some property cannot be willed. For example, any assets in trust, bank accounts titled "payable/transfer on death" and proceeds from any life insurance policy will automatically be transferred to a previously designated beneficiary, and that beneficiary cannot be changed in a will.

Step 3

Select beneficiaries to inherit your estate upon your death. The benefit of a will is that you are entitled to leave your property to anyone you want, including family, friends and charitable organizations. It is important that your list of beneficiaries include full names, addresses and dates of birth. Birth dates are especially important if a beneficiary is a minor, because arrangements must be made for that bequest to be placed in trust until he reaches 18.

Step 4

Choose an executor, who will serve an important role after your death. An executor is responsible for collecting all assets in the estate, submitting the will for probate, contacting the beneficiaries named in the will and distributing property upon court approval.

Step 5

Write your will. Arkansas law requires that wills be in writing. Generally, this means typed. However, a "holographic," or handwritten will, is considered valid if three impartial witnesses attest to the testator's handwriting and signature.

Step 6

Sign the will. Once the will is complete, you must sign at the end of the document, affirming you are the named testator and the provisions of your will were drafted voluntarily and without any duress. The will signing must occur before two witnesses who also sign the document, verifying your identity, competence and creation of the will as voluntary.