Probate is the process by which a decedent’s estate is overseen by a court, particularly in the distribution of assets to the decedent’s heirs, either by the terms of a testamentary document or under Arkansas law. Probate follows what is generally a painful and emotional loss. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in the field of probate law and will ease the stress of probate by guiding executors, administrators, and beneficiaries through the complex process.
In general, estate administration and probate matters may include the collection of a decedent’s assets, the liquidation of any liabilities, and the distribution of property to the legal heirs. Our firm can help you and your family through the process of making sure your loved one’s final wishes are followed. Whether the decedent passed away with or without a will, we can make sure that the laws of the state of Arkansas and the terms of any testamentary document are followed properly.
If the decedent leaves a will, the court will usually first determine whether that will is valid or invalid. Then, through an appointed representative (primarily a named person within the testamentary document), the court, attorneys, and representative will determine whether the decedent had any creditors. Following a mandatory period of notifying creditors, all of the parties involved will distribute the property pursuant to the document’s provisions.
If the decedent does not leave a will, the court will appoint a personal representative, which may or may not be deemed an heir under Arkansas law. This representative, along with his or her attorney, will administer the estate in the same process detailed above.
Our attorneys assist representatives with the strenuous process of collecting, managing, valuing, protecting, and liquidating the assets of an estate. When appropriate, the firm calls upon accountants, financial advisors, real estate agents, property managers, and other professionals to help with executor duties. We can also assist in obtaining expert opinions about unique assets (antiques, rare books, automobiles, and other collectables) for accurate valuation, management, and possible sale.
Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, there are sometimes disputes between beneficiaries. Our attorneys’ professional courtroom presence can calm the emotionally charged process of probating a contested will or challenging an executor or judicial decision. When it is in the best interests of our client to preserve cordial familial relationships, our attorneys are adept at mediating these disputes. When necessary, we assertively defend our clients’ beneficiary rights within the probate court.