If you leave property when you die and it does not pass to your family, friends and loved ones by other means (such as a trust, pay on death account, or beneficiary deed) chances are your property will have to go through the court process known as probate before it is officially transferred. Estate Administration refers to the act of collecting, managing, overseeing and eventually distributing property as it goes through the probate process.
Depending on the size and complexity of your estate, probate can be quick and simple or more time consuming and complex. Estates including real-estate or property in multiple counties or states can take longer to probate than estates consisting solely of personal property. Other factors that determine the length of the process include whether someone died with a Last Will and Testament and whether family members agree on how property should be divided.
During probate, valid debts of the decedent (person who died) are paid out of the estate and the remaining property of the decedent is then divided according to his or her wishes (if the decedent died with a Will) or divided among his or her heirs according to Arkansas law (if the decedent died without a Will). Title to property is transferred to the new owners and the new owners take physical possession of the property.
Probate does involve filing papers in court. However, whether family and friends will have to actually appear before a judge and how often depends on the size of the estate and circumstances surrounding the case. Simple estates involving not much property, where family and friends of the decedent agree on its division, may not require a court appearance at all.
If you need help probating the estate of a loved one, let us be of assistance during this difficult time. We can answer questions that you have and guide you through the probate process from start to finish. For a free consultation or for more information call the Law Offices of Dustin A. Duke, PLLC at (501) 960-6060 or click here. You can also visit other pages of this website to gather more information about Probate & Estate Administration, including the Law Blog and the FAQ pages.