Probate and Estate Administration
What is Probate?
When a loved one dies and the assets are titled solely in his or her individual name, these assets must go through a legal process known as probate. Ideally, your loved one would have created a proper estate plan and dealt with all of his or her assets in a manner that avoids probate entirely, but we realize that often loved ones only have a Last Will and Testament, or have created no estate plan of all, both of which necessitate a probate proceeding.
During probate, the Last Will and Testament must be introduced and deemed valid. If the Will is either invalid or no Will exists at all, then the assets of a loved one in probate will pass according default intestate laws that Arkansas has provided on how to distribute an estate. For this reason alone, estate planning is wise.
In probate, a representative must be appointed for the estate, creditors must be determined and paid, and assets must either be distributed according to the decedent’s wishes or intestate law (depending on whether there is a Will). Though probate sounds like a simple enough process, there are many documents that must be filed before an estate can be distributed, and the process itself usually takes around nine months to two years.
We can help you as the representative of your loved one’s estate through the process, whether the estate is under $100,000 or over $1,000,000. We’ve got experience with both. If the estate is under $100,000, Arkansas allows for an expedited probate process, depending on the circumstances. If you are the successor trustee on a loved one’s trust, we can help you with trust administration as well.