When a person dies without any prior estate planning, meaning no will, trust, or other planning document was formed, they are said to have died intestate. This simply means their property must pass to another person or persons through a court process called Probate. The rules used to determine who gets their property are the state statutes.
Property also has to be transferred through a court process, or Probate, when a person dies with only a will (testate). The individual has used a will to tell how they want their property to pass, but the court still administers and/or authorizes the passing of property.
The court will appoint a personal representative, known as an executor, who is typically named by the deceased in the will, to handle the administering of the deceased’s estate. The estate is all of the money and property owned by the individual. The difference between dying testate or intestate is who appoints the executor. In cases where an individual did not have a will, the appointment of an executor is often highly contested.
Our offices represent the executors of estates in beginning the probate case, filing the necessary documentation for the court, and arranging for final disposition of the assets in the estate. Every estate is different, so our legal fee depends on the complexity of a particular probate case. In the State of Arkansas, the fees for probate administration are statutorily limited. Our firm typically follows the statutory guidelines for fees in these matters. We do not require an up-front retainer, and the final fee is taken at the end of the case from estate funds. This allows our clients the peace of mind knowing they do not have to pay for probate administration out-of-pocket.