Probate Shortcuts in Arkansas

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in Arkansas.

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.

Simplified Probate Procedures

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 surviving spouse, 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 surviving spouse and/or minor children. The court can order that the surviving spouse give notice to creditors or state that this isn’t necessary. Ark. Code Ann. § 28-41-103.

or

  1. 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 $100,000. There is a 45-day waiting period. Ark. Code Ann. § 28-41-101.

To use this option, the executor’s request must state:

  • there are no unpaid claims against the estate
  • the deceased person didn’t receive federal or state benefits or that the deceased person’s estate has already reimbursed the Department of Human Services
  • a list of the deceased person’s personal property and its value
  • a legal description and value of any real property including the homestead
  • the names and addresses of anyone who has the deceased person’s personal property and anyone who is residing at the real property, and
  • the names, addresses and relationship of the inheritors to the deceased person.

The executor attaches a copy of the will and pays a $25 fee to file the affidavit. If the deceased person owned real property, the executor also publishes a notice of the death and the filing within 30 days of filing the affidavit. The notice must say that any creditors must make claims against the estate within three months from the date of publishing the notice.

For More Information

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).

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