The most important piece of advice that we can give to you and your family is to plan on the front end in order to avoid probate when you pass by creating a living trust. However, if you have a loved one who has passed away without a living trust, either with a will or without a will, you will need an experienced probate attorney to guide you through the complex and often times lengthy process.
When you or a loved one passes away without a living trust estate plan, either with a valid will or without, then the assets and property of the deceased will be managed and distributed by a court through the process of probate. Probate is a court managed process in which the assets and property subject to probate are properly administered to the heirs or beneficiaries which are determined either by the deceased person’s last will and testament, if there is one, or the laws of Arkansas.
If you pass with a valid will in place, then through probate the court will validate the will and authorize the executor of your will to distribute your assets pursuant to the terms of your will. If you or a loved one passes without a will (intestate), then you must go through additional administrative proceedings in order for the court to determine how to administer your estate and how to distribute your assets.
Probate will be initiated by your probate attorney through a petition to open probate and the entire process of probates takes a minimum of six months. You absolutely need an experienced probate attorney to help you through this complex process in order to make it as quick, efficient, and as painless as possible and we can help.