The Arkansas Probate Code mandates that estates go through probate if the decedent owned property, had minor children, or gave assets to beneficiaries. It may be necessary for an estate to go through probate if some documents are ambiguous, the beneficiaries do not have a guardian, or if the estate contains expensive real estate.
Small Estate Probate for Estates Totaling Less Than $100,000
In the State of Arkansas, those with estates worth less than $100,000 can take advantage of a simplified probate process for probate administration. An executor will need to obtain authorization from a probate court to take advantage of this small estate probate. Using this service will make the probate administration faster and more efficient.
Probate Administration in the State of Arkansas
An executor has five years to probate an estate in Arkansas. It is possible that the executor will be liable for damages by beneficiaries, creditors, and heirs if the executor does not file a probate petition within the five-year time period.
Sometimes delaying the probate of an estate will prevent the transfer of ownership of personal property such as automobiles. The following steps are associated with probate administration in Arkansas:
- A probate petition is submitted to the circuit court where the decedent died
- The executor sends notices to the decedent’s heirs
- The executor inventories and appraises the assets in the estate
- Creditor claimants may assert debts and these debts must be satisfied
- The assets of the estate are liquidated
- The executor pays the estate taxes
- The assets are distributed to the decedent’s heirs
Some of the steps listed above will be different if the decedent did not leave a valid will at the time of their death. It is essential to speak to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney if you want to learn more about probate administration in the State of Arkansas.
The Benefits of Retaining an Estate Planning Lawyer in Arkansas
You must be strategic when you are dealing with probate courts and probate administration in the State of Arkansas. It is necessary to focus on the things you can do to protect your legal interests. One of the most important things you can do is to retain an estate planning lawyer who can provide you with guidance and instruction regarding testamentary instruments and probate administration.
Many clients do not understand what to do to protect their legal interests. Retaining a lawyer will help you prepare for contingencies that you may otherwise be unaware of due to your inexperience with probate administration. Sometimes it may be necessary to determine if you need to change attorneys, but attempting to engage in probate administration without the assistance of a lawyer can be extremely difficult and frustrating.
You can also have your attorney represent your estate after your death. You do not know which problems may arise after your death. A will contest may create a series of problems that can only be resolved with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. It is important to recognize the benefits of retaining an attorney so you can avoid future problems that may arise during probate administration.