Arkansas: Every Legal, Medical, and Estate Planning Document You Need

Here's a complete guide to every critical medical, legal, and estate planning document and relevant state law for Arkansas. Download these forms and get started with Pillar to organize all of your most important documents in one safe, secure, easy-to-use online storage solution

February 2, 2021

Arkansas is a very popular place to live thanks to its year-round mild climate and affordability. Plus, with 600,000 acres of lakes, it's no wonder that the residents call it "the Natural State" (it even still has an active diamond mine). 

If you or someone you’re caring for lives in Arkansas, then there will be several important documents you’ll want to have organized. Here’s a complete list of all medical, legal, and estate planning forms you’ll need if you live in Arkansas.

Essential Medical State Laws & Forms: Arkansas

How to Get Your Medical Records in Arkansas

In Arkansas, healthcare providers must maintain a patient’s medical records as follows:

  • Doctors: Six years as required by HIPAA regulations. Note: The Arkansas Medical Society recommends that physicians extend this to at least ten years from the date of the last treatment.
  • Hospitals: For adults, ten years after the last discharge. For minors, two years after the age of majority (i.e. until the patient turns 20).

For as long as they are available, you have the right to get a copy of or amend your medical records. You can find out more about how to do this here.

Read more about your rights when it comes to your medical records.

Arkansas Advance Directive Laws

Residents of Arkansas who wish to set up an advance directive can find a downloadable form on the Arkansas Department of Health public website. This form gives end-of-life care instructions for situations involving quality of life, treatment, etc.

Individuals who wish to allow others to make medical decisions on their behalf will need to fill out a Health Care Durable Power of Attorney. A detailed form along with helpful information can be found on the AARP’s website.

If you wish to sign a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form, you can download one here.

Arkansas Organ Donor Registry

If you’d like to become an organ donor in the state of Arkansas, then you can do so by signing up with one of two options:

Both agencies work with state hospitals and medical facilities to supply life-saving gifts of organ, eye, and tissue to those who need them. Registration can be done online.

Essential Arkansas Legal & Estate Planning Documents & Forms

Arkansas Probate Laws

When a resident of Arkansas passes away (i.e. becomes a "decedent"), their estate must go through the probate process if it meets any of the following conditions:

  • The estate is larger than $100,000
  • There are creditors (such as an outstanding mortgage, credit card balance, etc.)
  • The estate is contested (for instance, someone believes the decedent was not of sound mind when their will was created)

Probate in Arkansas begins with the appointment of a personal representative (Arkansas’s version of an executor of a will). This individual will be responsible for managing the decedent's property, notifying creditors and heirs, and updating the court of their progress.

Probate can be avoided if the estate is relatively small, there are no outstanding debts, and 45 days since death have passed. This can be done by filing an affidavit.

Read more about the Arkansas probate process.

Trusts in Arkansas

A revocable living trust is another way to avoid probate and pass property directly to a beneficiary. Since Arkansas does not use the Uniform Probate Code, it may be a good idea to create a living trust to avoid Arkansas's complex probate process.

A will should also be written even if you create a trust. Wills help to provide a catch-all for any property that wasn't transferred to the trust. Without a will, it would be up to the court to determine how your remaining assets should be dispersed under Arkansas state law.

Read more about the biggest differences between a will and a trust, and how each can assist you with probate when planning your estate.

Arkansas Digital Estate Planning Laws

In Arkansas, your digital assets (emails, social media accounts, etc.) can be accessed and managed by your personal representative or trustee. To find out more about everything that’s covered, you can read the full bill here: HB2253 Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

How to Get a Death Certificate in Arkansas

Death certificates are available online through the Arkansas Department of Health for a small fee. Only certain individuals (such as parents, spouses, grandchildren, etc.) are eligible to order death certificates and must provide documentation as proof of the relationship.

Does Arkansas Have an Estate & Inheritance Tax?

Whether you plan to leave assets to a beneficiary or you’re the heir to someone else’s estate, there may be taxes owed to the IRS. If you live in Arkansas, here are the state-level taxes that will be collected:

  • Estate tax: None. However, be aware that larger estates may still be subject to the federal estate tax.
  • Inheritance tax: None. Remember that if you live in Arkansas and someone from another state has made you an heir to their estate, then the other state’s inheritance laws may apply.
  • Gift tax: None. But don’t forget that the federal gift tax exemption is $15,000 per gift recipient per year.

Getting Your Documents Organized in Arkansas

Arkansas may be a beautiful and affordable place to live. However, with its complex probate process, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got all of your important documents in order for when you’ll need them.

You can easily do this by creating a customized account with Pillar. Use Pillar to scan, digitally store, and share your most important files with your family and those who need them.

Start your free 14-day trial today and see if Pillar is right for you.