Arkansas offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." This makes it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using the following probate shortcut -- saving time, money, and hassle.
Arkansas has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.
You can use the simplified small estate process in Arkansas if:
1. The personal property in the estate does not exceed that to which the widow, if any, or minor children, if any, are by law entitled free of debt, as dower or curtesy and statutory allowances. The probate court can order that the entire estate to the widow and/or minor children. Ark. Code Ann. § 28-41-103.
2. The value, less encumbrances, of all property owned by the deceased person, excluding the homestead of and the statutory allowances for the benefit of a spouse or minor children, if any, does not exceed $50,000. There is a 45-day waiting period. Ark. Code Ann. § 28-41-101.
For help determining if an estate qualifies for one of these probate shortcuts, or handling an estate in general, see The Executor's Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo), or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).