Probate is the common term for the Court process to settle a deceased individual’s estate. The primary purpose is to resolve any debts of the deceased and to properly pass the deceased’s property to the rightful heirs.
Generally, all property owned solely by the deceased is required to pass through Probate. Property such as life insurance with a designated beneficiary, bank accounts that have paid-on-death designations, and some real estate that is jointly owned, passes outside of the Probate process.
Having a Will, does not avoid Probate. There are two separate Probate processes in Arkansas. Full Probate and Probate for a small estate. Full Probate requires that an Administrator or Personal Representative be appointed to keep the estate property safe and to perform some administrative duties such as pay debts from the estate’s funds.
During Full Probate we prepare and present to the probate court all necessary notices, petitions, orders, and all other proper and necessary legal instruments during the entire six (6) months, or longer when necessary, while the estate is required by law to remain open. Full Probate takes six months or longer to complete.
Probate for a small estate is allowed when the total value of the estate is under $100,000.00.