Arkansas Probate FAQs

Destiny Law attorneys answer frequently asked probate questions about Arkansas wills, trusts, guardianship documents, and more.

Probate FAQs

What is probate?

Probate is a legal process that occurs after a person is deceased which determines how the person’s heirs take legal title over the assets.

How is probate started?

In most cases, the probate process is started by a relative of the deceased who works with a probate attorney to begin a petition to probate. They can do this with or without the presence of a last will and testimony. If it is a small probate, then the relative has to run a three-month notice to notify creditors. If it is a regular probate, then a six-month notice must be run. If a creditor makes a claim, the claim must be resolved before the probate process to distribute inheritance can proceed.

What is an executor/executrix and how are they appointed?

In Arkansas, an executor or executrix (if the person is a female) is appointed by the will. This is the person responsible for carrying out the will and handling the estate. If there is no will, then the person petitioning the court to probate the estate of decedent is typically named as the administrator/administratrix or personal representative of the estate.

How can I avoid the probate process?

The only way to avoid the probate process is to take part in estate planning before the person is deceased. This will also depend on the assets to be distributed. If the person owns real property, the only way to avoid probate is through a trust that supersedes the probate. Bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and other designated assets can be assigned beneficiary designations to allow them to avoid the probate process as well.

How is probate handled if there is no written will?

If the deceased does not have a will, an administrator or administratrix, who is normally a close relative, petitions the court first. Traditionally, with an attorney’s help, they can still go through the probate process by following the statutes that guide the division of the person’s assets. Contact Destiny Law Firm’s experienced probate attorneys for help with this process.

How long after the person dies do you have to probate a will?

You have five years after the person passes away to probate a will.

Can I probate a will without having to hire an attorney?

Yes, you can probate a will without the aid of an attorney, but it is not recommended. There will inevitably be costly missteps regarding statutory requirements that a non-attorney will not know. The clerk’s office is not allowed to give you legal advice.

Where do I probate a will in Arkansas?

You can probate a will either at the place where the deceased resided or where the property of the estate is situated.

How long does probate take?

From start to finish, probate on a small estate that includes the three-month notice to creditors should take six months or less. A regular estate that includes the six-month notice to creditors will probably take nine to 12 months to complete. Generally, the process is about a year from start to finish, but can be much longer if contested.

What assets are subject to probate?

Unless there has been estate planning to avoid probate, such as trusts or beneficiary designations, all assets are subject to probate.

Contact a Little Rock Probate Lawyer

If you have a loved one whose estate is going through probate, you absolutely need an experienced attorney to help. Destiny McHughes at Destiny Law Firm provides experienced guidance in wills, trusts, and estate planning matters. Contact us to set up an appointment for a consultation today.