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400 Ouachita Avenue, Hot Springs, Arkansas 71901

Experienced Hot Springs Probate Lawyer Eases the Stress of Estate Administration

Meticulous care in executing your loved one’s legacy in Arkansas

Probate — the legal procedure for settling your deceased loved one’s estate — can sometimes be a drawn-out and frustrating affair that adds to your grief. At Schnipper Britton & Stobaugh in Hot Springs, Arkansas, we have been practicing probate law since our founding in 1875. Our current attorneys have more than 100 years of combined legal experience. We have earned a reputation for legal knowledge and integrity because of our careful and thorough management of countless estates. You can trust us to guide and protect your loved one’s estate throughout the probate process.

What is probate?

Probate originally defined the court proceeding by which a will was proved to be valid, but the term now refers to the entire process of administering the estate of a decedent. The probate court determines:

  • The validity of the will, including resolution of any challenges raised to it
  • Whether there are creditors of the estate whose rights must be protected
  • Whether there the decedent had debtors from whom the estate can collect payment
  • Any questions about how to carry out the wishes of the deceased as recorded in the will

The probate court also supervises the administration of an intestate estate, which is one in which the decedent did not leave a will. An intestate estate goes through the same process of identifying, locating, contacting and settling with creditors and debtors, but afterward the remaining assets are distributed according to Arkansas intestacy laws. We have the litigation experience and the knowledge of the probate process to effectively represent the interests of your loved one’s estate from would-be creditors or disputes from family members.

Personal attention during your most difficult times

As your probate lawyers, we understand that going through a legal proceeding during your period of mourning can be an emotional challenge. We use our firm’s experience and knowledge of probate law to assist in the following: 

  • Representation in probate court proceedings and probate litigation
  • Administration of the estate
  • Assistance with estate settlement and distribution
  • Resolving disputes among heirs or beneficiaries
  • Minimizing delays and complications 
  • Ensuring compliance with Arkansas probate laws
  • Protecting the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries

We make every effort to lighten your burden by keeping you thoroughly updated on all progress. We move swiftly and surely through the probate court, always mindful of the tolls that unnecessary delays can take. Though we have the experience and resources to manage high-value estate, we also provide high-quality, personalized service for smaller estates. 

Frequently asked questions about probate in Arkansas

How long does probate typically take?

An Arkansas probate proceeding normally takes at least six months and usually can be wrapped up within a year.

What are the costs associated with probate?

The estate (not the heirs) must normally pay the costs of filing in probate court and publishing notices, as well as the estate administrator’s bond and fee and the attorney’s fee. In appropriate cases, the estate might also need to pay for accountants, appraisals and business valuations. The total cost can vary depending on the circumstances.

Can probate be avoided through estate planning?

Yes, property may be transferred directly to heirs without probate through such legal vehicles as joint tenancies, living trusts, payable on death accounts and transfer on death registrations or deeds. Estates valued at less than $100,000 may be able to avoid probate in certain circumstances.

What happens if someone contests a will?

The probate court will hold a hearing to consider testimony and other evidence from the persons contesting the will, from estate beneficiaries and from the executor or administrator. If any portion of the will is found invalid, the court issue a ruling that can deny probate or specify appropriate corrective action.

Contact seasoned and trustworthy probate lawyers in Hot Springs, Arkansas

To schedule an appointment to discuss your loved one’s estate, with or without a will, call Schnipper, Britton & Stobaugh at 501-762-0887 or contact our office online.