Probate FAQs

Questions about the professional Establishment of Wills, Trusts, Guardianship Documents, and More

What is “probate?”

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

How is probate started?

Probate is started by a relative to the deceased in most cases. The will is presented and, with the assistance of an attorney, the relative can start a petition to probate the estate of the decedent with or without a will. If it is a small probate, then the relative has to run a 3-month notice to creditors on it. If it is a regular probate, then they must run a 6-month notice. If a creditor makes a claim, then it must be resolved before the probate process can proceed and the individuals can receive their inheritance.

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 and that is the person responsible for probating 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 do estate planning before the person is deceased, which will also depend on the assets they have. If they own real property, the only way to avoid probate is through a trust that supersedes the probate. Otherwise, things like bank accounts and stocks and bonds, etc. can all have beneficiary designations on them that can 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. Then, 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.

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 simply because there will inevitably be missteps with the statutory requirements that a non-attorney will not know and 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 6 months or less. A regular estate that includes the six month notice to creditors will probably take 9-12 months to complete. Generally, it is about a year from start to finish.

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.Probate Attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas

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 The Destiny Law Firm provides experienced guidance in wills, trusts, and estate planning matters. Contact us to set up an appointment for a consultation today.