Rippy, Stepps & Associates
Put your legal matters in order.Plan now for a more secure future.
Payment Button
View Our Practice Areas

How to navigate probate in Arkansas

When a loved one dies, there can be some confusion about who inherits property and other assets. The process of settling an estate is called probate and here are some tips on how to navigate probate in Arkansas.

The first thing to do is to write a will so that it will be legally known who your executor will be after death and how you want your assets to be distributed. If you have a will and your estate is worth less than $100,000, you can avoid probate entirely.

How to determine your estate

Property held through joint ownership – such as a house co-owned with a spouse – or insurance policies with named beneficiaries are excluded from probate. Also, establishing a living trust will allow you to transfer property to loved ones without having to go through probate.

There are three types of estate administration in Arkansas:

  • Uncontested estates in which the will names an executor who files a petition for probate, interested parties are given notice and a judge holds a hearing on the distribution of the estate assets
  • Small estates in which the estate is $100,000 or less, all claims against the estate have been paid, and 45 days have passed since death
  • Contested estates in which an interested party files written grounds to contest the probate. A judge hears both sides and decides whether to admit the will or not.

Some states have a special probate court, but Arkansas is not one of them. The Circuit Court has jurisdiction over estate matters.

Living trusts and taxes

One action you can take to prepare your estate is to create a living trust. Assets such as property are placed into the trust and run by the trustee, although you can continue to use them while you are alive. One you die, the assets in the trust pass to your beneficiaries.

If you have an estate of more than $100,000, a living trust is a way to keep your estate out of probate where assets can be held up while a judge determines distribution. In addition, you can avoid paying taxes on assets in the trust: Arkansas doesn’t have an estate tax and the federal estate tax exempts up to $11.2 million per person. If your estate is worth more than $5 million, a trust is a way for you to avoid paying taxes on those assets.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response