Why does probate in Arkansas take so long?
Probate, with or without a Last Will and Testament, will take a minimum of 6 months in Arkansas!!!
Opening probate is done by filing a petition with the clerk. In Arkansas, if nobody objects, a hearing can be done immediately. However, if any party has entered a demand for notification, then a hearing will happen after about 30 days, delaying the opening of probate by a month.
Advertising and Notification
This is due to the advertising requirement:
Arkansas Code Annotated § 28-40-111 – Notice of appointment of personal representative requires that creditors be given 6 months to present claims to the personal representative for payment.
…all persons having claims against the estate to exhibit them, properly verified to him or her, within six (6) months from the date of the first publication of the notice, or they shall be forever barred and precluded from any benefit in the estate.
Accounting and Inventory
If accounting and inventory is required, there is a 2 month advertising requirement for each accounting. This doesn’t include the time to prepare the accounting and inventory. After the inventory is advertised, then it must be approved by the Judge which requires a petition to be entered and and order to be issued by the Judge. This can add 30 more days if the Judge wants anybody to appear.
The first accounting can be done while the 6 month notification period is running. So it can overlap that waiting period.
The second and subsequent accounting add 2 months each to the probate.
So, if even one person involved didn’t waive the requirement for accounting, then the Probate is now up to 8 months.
Allow another month in here for preparation of documents, inventory, and accounting. Now the Probate is up to 9 months.
After the advertising period, payment of creditors, inventory, and accounting, a petition to make the final distribution and close the probate can be made. Getting all of this wrapped up should take about a month.
Overall, the Probate has taken 10 months. Without inventory and accounting, it can be cut back to 8 months.
Hitches and Glitches
Of course, this is assuming everything goes as it should. That nobody challenges any part of the process. That no petitions have to be entered to sell property, and more.
If any of this happens, then it could add more months.