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Estate Planning

  • Enjoy the Peace of Mind You Deserve
  • Prevent Probate
  • Eliminate Unnecessary Taxes

Probate

A Great Probate Attorney Makes Everything Easier.

You Focus on Your Family, We Take Care of Everything Else.

Medicaid & Elder Law

The need for long term care arises quickly. It’s stressful and draining. Get options for long term care and qualify for Medicaid while preserving hard earned assets.

FREE BOOKSECRETS OF EXCELLENT ESTATE PLANNING

PROTECT YOU, YOUR FAMILY, & YOUR MONEY From Probate & Outside Interference with Excellent Plans That Work When You or Your Family Need Them To
 
* PREVENT Probate
* ENJOY Peace of Mind
* ELIMINATE unnecessary taxes
* SECURE Your Assets

A Treasure Trove of Information – P.V.

OR Call (479)717-6300 to request your book in the mail.

DeWitt Law Firm

15 of 15.  Miracle for Sure.

S.D.

DeWitt Law Firm

We have trusted DeWitt Law Firm with our estate planning! We are pleased that all our t’s are crossed and our eyes dotted! Thank you Gary and Winnie!

M.H.
Fayetteville, Arkansas

DeWitt Law Firm

Thank you again for being such nice people. I was very on edge about all of this. Thanks for taking the time to make me feel at ease and helping me through this process.

D.S.
Springdale, Arkansas

STAR 101.5 featuring Gary DeWitt, Estate Planning Attorney

Featured on STAR 101.5 (KFMD)

Listen during the lunch hour on the 2nd Friday of each month for the legal minute featuring Gary DeWitt on STAR 101.5 

Meet The Team

Gary DeWitt Attorney-at-Law, estate planning, probate, elder law, northwest arkansas
Gary DeWitt Attorney-at-Law

The Best Part of Being a Lawyer is You

What motivates me everyday is you. Meeting you, hearing your stories & counseling you on creating a practical & effective plan for the future, is a gratifying experience. I truly enjoy taking you through the planning process, explaining and simplifying the “legalese” along the way — so you understand all your options and make the best decisions for you and your loved ones.

Life Experience

My education, coupled with my valuable life experiences, gives me a unique perspective and allows me to bring Estate Planning and Elder Law solutions to your family, in a way that goes beyond the traditional lawyer/client relationship. I don’t provide canned, one-size-fits-all plans.  Between undergraduate school and law school, Gary worked in the corporate world doing computer programming, troubleshooting, consultation, and support at the highest levels.

Custom Solutions

I work to create a customized solution, tailored to your values, needs & goals. I also take the time to make sure each plan is implemented correctly and I monitor the plan so it is kept up-to-date

I strive to stop the consequences of not planning:

  • You stand to lose your independence as a person and be put into the hands of Adult Protective Services or somebody else that you don’t desire
  • You put your family’s security at risk
  • You put your accounts & assets at risk
  • Your private affairs will be publicized
  • If you are incapacitated, your family will have to go to court to access your funds
  • Your spouse’s next spouse can cut your children out
  • Estate tax rates start at 40%

What Makes Me Uniquely Qualified to Help You:

  • Practice only includes Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law
  • Local law degree from the University of Arkansas
  • Advanced Law Degree (LLM) in Estate Planning and Elder Law
  • Member of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
  • Member of Wealth Counsel
  • First hand life experience in these areas of law (been there, done that)
Winnie DeWitt
Winnie DeWitt

I am a native of Arkansas, having been in and around Northwest Arkansas most of my life.  I have lived in Springdale for the past 16 years working, playing and raising our 2 children, Madeline and Aaron.

My goal is to assist every person who comes through our doors.  I do my best to help people get the best service in a caring environment in a timely manner.  I am dedicated to returning phones calls with answers!  Our office is here to serve and we love having our clients feel welcome to drop by when they need us.

 

Live, Protect, Pass

God’s Command to Get Your House in Order

It is often said that the proper interpretation of Isaiah 38:1 is to leave instructions for family and determine who gets what (i.e. write a Last Will and Testament, leave instructions). The literal interpretation is “give orders to your house”. This means write a Will and leave instructions. This is a mandate and warning from God to make sure that the bounty He has allowed you to “borrow” be managed well and instructions left for its care for the next generation.

Modern Times, Modern Wills – Same Command

In modern times, we could extend that to mean to leave instructions not only for passing your bounty on, but for how you want to be cared for in case you can’t make your own decisions.

Probate Is Stressful

If you have never personally been through probate or had to guide others through the process, you have no idea of the emotional, not to mention financial, cost of probate. The stress can be completely avoided.

Featured Practice Areas

Estate Planning In a Nutshell

Without An Estate Plan, Everything You Work So Hard For Is At Risk!

You Can Continue Without Your Estate Plan, Relying on the Estate Plan the State has Created for You Or You Can Protect Everything That Matters – The Choice Is Yours

Estate planning is about more than money and stuff today. It concerns a number of top issues such as your personal rights as an individual, families, administration of your affairs, and your stuff.

Please do not do your estate planning online or alone. These are some of life’s most difficult decisions. You need a trusted advocate and estate planning attorneys. Gary offers expert guidance and honest advice, with the planning focus on you, giving each issue the personal attention and sensitivity it deserves. He gives you all the information you need to make the best, most well informed decisions for you and your family.

You get peace of mind, comfort, and assurance that everything that matters is being protected.

Benefits of Estate Planning:

  • Prevent Probate and Expensive Litigation
  • Minimize or Eliminate Estate Tax and Other Hidden Taxes
  • Control my property while I am alive and well
  • Protect my retirement, bank, and other accounts
  • Maximize the benefits of life insurance
  • Provide for my health, wealth, & my loved ones if I become incapacitated or incompetent
  • Give what I have
    • To whom I want
    • The way I want
    • When I want
  • Minimize the impact of professional fees, court costs, and taxes
  • Don’t unnecessarily burden children, spouse, or family
  • Include people to raise my children if I can’t
  • Prevent Unneeded Court Cases and Litigation
  • Center your family’s attention where it needs to be during a crisis
  • Ensure your final wishes are carried out as you want and your loved ones receive what you want, when they need it

What is estate planning? Wikipedia defines it like this: The process of anticipating and arranging, during a person’s life, for the management and disposal of that person’s estate during the person’s life and at and after death, while minimizing gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and income tax.

Estate Planning for all of Northwest Arkansas, including Fayetteville Arkansas; Rogers; Bentonville; Bella Vista; and Springdale.

Our local estate planning lawyer provides you with rock solid, yet flexible and comprehensive solutions to your needs, with a refreshing approach to planning.

Our lawyers are easy to talk to and don’t use jargon.

Everybody needs an estate plan, not just those that are wealthy. But, even the wealthy forget and it causes grief for the family.

Estate Planning can not only help you achieve your long term monetary goals, it will make sure your family never suffers the extra headaches and heartaches of probate.

Frequently Asked Estate Planning Questions

  • A Will alone, no Will, and no Trust is like making a down payment on Probate!

    A Will (Last Will and Testament) is a document that outlines what is to happen to your property.

    You can:

    1. Name an Executor and alternate
    2. Name Guardians for minor children
    3. Decide how debts and taxes are paid
    4. Provide for loved pets
    5. Disown children
    6. Create a testamentary trust

    A Will also acts as a backup for a living trust.

  • No, have a Will (or no Will at all) does not prevent probate.

    A Will requires Probate (that is, the will is validated and admitted) and administration.

  • A Trust transfers property from one person, the grantor, to the control of another person, the trustee, to be held and used for the benefit of a third person, the beneficiary.

    The Trust document is the contract between the grantor and the trustee on how to manage the property for the beneficiary. (Technically, a Trust is a third party contract between the grantor and trustee for the benefit of the beneficiary.)

  • A Living Trust is a Trust created by a person during their lifetime. The Grantor of the trust typically manages the Trust assets and is the beneficiary of the Trust.

    If your Will creates a trust, it is called a Testamentary Trust.

  • A Revocable Trust is a trust that the Grantor and Trustee can agree to change during the Grantor’s lifetime.

  • A Revocable Living Trust is a Revocable Trust established while the Grantor is still living.

    It is the most common type of Trust established to avoid Probate and Taxes.  It can also protect children with special needs, addictions, and marital problems.

  • Not to be confused with a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will (Advance Directive) is a medical wishes document.

    It is medical directives to healthcare professionals made by a person while competent that is to be used in the event that the person should become incapacitated or be in an end-stage medical condition, i.e., a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness.

  • A Power of Attorney is a written document signed by a competent individual that authorizes another to act as the individual’s agent, typically in financial or medical matters.

    If it is a Durable Power of Attorney, the authority to act by the holder of the power, the Agent or Attorney-in-Fact, survives the incapacity of the maker.

Probate

When somebody dies without a will  or trust or just a last will and testament, it must be probated.

The meaning of probate, or the probate definition, is to admit the will to the courts to prove validity, the court approves the will, execute the instructions in the will, proper advertisements are ran, creditors are paid off, all the stuff is gathered up into the “probate estate”, the stuff is distributed to the heirs, then the probate is closed.

When a last will and testament is not present, the court must make the determination as to how the estate is to be split up.

Probate creates extra heartaches and headaches for the family. Probate is time consuming. Probate can be confusing.

The best way to get the the process as quickly and easily as possible is to hire a probate lawyer. Your money is tied up and unavailable to your family until probate is well under way.

Oh ya, in Arkansas, probate cost is about 6% of the gross estate. The best way to save that money is by avoiding probate.  Because probate court, for the average person, is not a pleasant experience during a difficult time.

Probates in this area start at around $4,000 and go up.  The best way to save money is to avoid probate. The best way to avoid probate is to create a plan that works; eliminates uncertainty; and keeps you, your family and your money out of risk.

Probate for all of Northwest Arkansas including Fayetteville, AR; Rogers, AR; Bentonville, AR; Bella Vista AR; and Springdale, Arkansas.

Probate Frequently Asked Questions

  • Probate, or Estate Administration, is the process by which a deceased person’s property is passed to the heirs and beneficiaries named in his or her will.

    (Technically, Probate is just part of administration…)

    A probate court and the judge supervise the process from start to finish.

  • Yes. Even if your loved one wasn’t rich, his or her debts and taxes must be paid before assets are distributed. Otherwise, creditors and the IRS may try to recover their claim, and they have the right to pursue anyone who received the decedent’s money or property.

    It’s a lot less costly and risky to open an estate and administer it properly in the first place.

  • A simple formal estate that doesn’t have many assets and outstanding debts can be settled within seven to nine months.

  • No. The will must be admitted to probate by the court before it can be accepted by a bank. Without such proof, a bank has no way to know whether the will presented is the proper and last will of the deceased individual.

  • If the person died without a will (known as “intestacy”), state law provides a list of those who could serve in the capacity of executor and provides how the assets are distributed.

  • Generally, most assets owned by a descendant are deemed probate assets. Some exceptions include assets that are in a trust, assets that have designated beneficiaries, and assets owned as joint tenants and tenants by the entireties. The attorney will review documentation to ascertain what are deemed non-probate assets and probate assets.

  • Generally, there is a flat fee for both Formal Administration and Small Estate.

    In rare exceptions, additional fees may apply.

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