Category Archives: Probate and Trust

Avoiding probate on small mineral interests in Arkansas.

Clients often call me with a request to probate a will to transfer title to some mineral rights in one of the oil or gas producing Arkansas counties.  Many times, the cost of the probate far exceeds the present value of the mineral rights.  For those mineral owners, it is too late.  The law requires a probate to transfer title if the deceased’s will leaves the property to someone other than the intestate heirs.  This most comes up frequently because many will leave property to a spouse or to a trust, and neither are intestate heirs under Arkansas law.

If you own mineral rights, and want to avoid probate in Arkansas, then an Arkansas Beneficiary Deed is a very good option.  The deed can automatically transfer your Arkansas mineral rights upon your death, much like a pay on death bank account.  Also like a pay on death bank account, the designated beneficiary can be any person, company, or charity.

In my opinion, an Arkansas Mineral Beneficiary Deed is the best option to avoid probate for clients with mineral interests in Arkansas who will have a gross estate that is less than the Federal Estate Tax Exemption.  Contact Law Offices of Mark Robinette for more information.

How to transfer land without a will in Arkansas.

Do you have only a tract of land in Arkansas?  If you live in another state and have a vacation home, rental property, timber land, or mineral interest in Arkansas, you may leave your family with a burden if you utilize a will to transfer title at your death.

Merely filing a will in the County real estate records in Arkansas is not enough.  The law will require your heirs to admit your will to probate.  The average probate costs around $2000.

There is a very low cost alternative to probate.  Act 1918 of 2005 allows beneficiary deeds.  This makes your Arkansas land or Arkansas mineral interest transfer ownership just like a pay on death bank account.  The best part is that it is very flexible and low cost.  The beneficiary of your land at your death can be a trust, company, person, or a charity.

Contact Law Offices of Mark Robinette to learn more.

In what Arkansas Counties can you utilize a beneficiary deed?  All 72, of course!  This includes Arkansas County, Ashley County, Baxter County, Benton County, Boone County, Bradley County, Calhoun County, Carroll County, Chicot County, Clark County, Clay County, Cleburne County, Cleveland County, Columbia County, Conway County, Craighead County, Crawford County, Crittenden County, Cross County, Dallas County, Desha County, Drew County, Faulkner County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Garland County, Grant County, Greene County, Hempstead County, Hot Spring County, Howard County, Independence  County, Izard County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Johnson County, Lafayette County, Lawrence County, Lee County, Lincoln County, Little River County, Logan County, Lonoke County, Madison County, Marion County, Miller County, Mississippi County, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Nevada County, Newton County, Ouachita County, Perry County, Phillips County, Pike County, Poinsett County, Polk County, Pope County, Prairie County, Pulaski County, Randolph County, Saline County, Scott County, Searcy County, Sebastian County, Sevier County, Sharp County, St. Francis County, Stone County, Union County, Van Buren County, Washington County, White County, Woodruff County, Yell County

What is the statute of limitations for probating a will in Arkansas?

If the deceased is a resident of Arkansas, the time limit to probate a will is 5 years past the date of death.  With non-residents, the time limit is more flexible.  Any will admitted to probate in another state in a timely manner may be probated in Arkansas at any time.  There are date restrictions.  The will of anyone who died prior to the effective date of Act 166 of 1963, whether a resident or non-resident is subject to a strict 5 year statute of limitations.   Prior to Act 166 of 1963 and the effective date of Act 140 of 1949, the strict 5 year statute of limitations applied.  Prior to Act 140 of 1949, there was no statute of limitations.  The courts have contradictory holdings on the retrospective application of Act 140 of 1949.  Contact Law Offices of Mark Robinette to discuss if you face this complicated, but rare problem.

How long do I have to probate a will in Arkansas?

If the deceased is a resident of Arkansas, the time limit to probate a will is 5 years past the date of death.  With non-residents, the time limit is more flexible.  Any will admitted to probate in another state in a timely manner may be probated in Arkansas at any time.  There are date restrictions.  The will of anyone who died prior to the effective date of Act 166 of 1963, whether a resident or non-resident is subject to a strict 5 year statute of limitations.

Will of Pulaski County, Arkansas man ruled invalid for lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence.

In Shepard v. Jones, 2015 Ark. App. 279, a Pulaski County, Arkansas man’s will was found invalid after a lengthy and factually intensive trial.  In this case, the man was in hospice, on pain and anti-anxiety drugs, and barely conscious when his friend literally signed the will for him by holding the pen in the dying man’s hand and signing the man’s name.  In addition, the person procuring the will who was the man’s half-sister, withheld the fact that the dying man then owned $114,000 from the death of his sister.  The half-sister directed that the will she had prepared for her dying half-brother leave her and a family friend $365,000 while leaving the other heirs at law sums of $15,000 or less.

The facts of this case are excellent reading and law case book example of lack of capacity and undue influence.  In Arkansas, one seeking to dispose of his property by will must be able to retain in his mind, without prompting, the extent and condition of his property, to comprehend to whom he is giving it, and relations of those entitled to his property.  In this case, the man had no capacity whatsoever as evidenced by the trial court record.  The court’s recitation of the facts and circumstances leading up to the signing of the will is on pages 2 through 9 of the opinion.

If you have questions about the circumstances of the making of a loved one’s will, Arkansas probate and wills attorney Mark Robinette can provide you with valuable information about the law.  Lawyer Mark Robinette accepts probate cases in all 72 Arkansas counties.  Whether you need a full probate and administration of an estate or just probate of a will to clear title, Arkansas probate lawyer Mark Robinette can help you.

Wrongful Death and Probate in Arkansas: 3 Reasons to Act Fast.

The unthinkable happens.  A loved one is lost in a  tragic accident.  The shock is too much to bear.  The last thing on anyone’s mind is business.  There’s a funeral, the stream of relatives and well-wishers, phone calls from distant friends.   After that comes the silence and the contemplation of grief.   Grief paralyzes.  It becomes difficult to think clearly or even to take the first steps to act.  Opening an estate is the last thing on the minds of a grieving family, but acting fast is essential, and here are three reasons why.

1)  Nobody attorneys or lawyers will reach out to you for at least 30 days.

No doubt the drafters of the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct understood this tumultuous sequence of events after a tragic accident.  Rule 7.3 prohibits any lawyer solicitation of death claims within 30 days of death.  Only Arkansas lawyers who have a “family, close personal, or prior professional relationship” with the deceased may discuss wrongful death claims in person with the deceased’s family.  While the rules have an apparently noble purpose of preventing the intrusion of strange lawyers into the lives of grieving family at a vulnerable time, the Arkansas rules governing wrongful death lawyers don’t necessarily protect the legal interests of the family.

2)  Evidence of what really happened disappears, is destroyed, or is forgotten quickly.

Time begins to wear away at evidence immediately.  Potential witnesses leave the scene.  Faulty equipment or wrecked cars get scrapped.  The insurance company or risk management department of the individual or company at fault will have investigators on the scene immediately.   Their narrative of the accident takes hold in the minds of those present.  If your loved one was the victim, a case is already being built by the party at fault to minimize the damages to be paid to loved one’s estate.  It’s business.  Many large plaintiff attorney firms will send investigators to the scene of an accident for major disasters.   If your loved one died in a major disaster, you should question any large plaintiff’s firm that contacts you whether they had anyone at the scene of accident before hiring them.

3) There is a only a 30 day preference for will beneficiaries or heirs as personal representative/administrator/ of the estate.

After 30 days, any qualified person (over 21 and not a felon) can open an probate in Arkansas.  This means an estranged family member or other person who does not have the best interest of the rest of the family can interlope.  I’ve seen this happen first hand, and it causes more grief.  People are shocked to learn that their estranged family member can become administrator, hire an Arkansas wrongful death lawyer to pursue the claim, and cause all manner of family strife.

Conclusion

The 30 day non-solicitation rule after wrongful death in Arkansas has good intentions, but it may actually hurt families with wrongful death claims.  Immediately after the accident or disaster is the time to have a law firm investigate, but families of accident victims likely won’t learn this unless they have an Arkansas wrongful death or probate lawyer as a family friend who understands wrongful death claims because wrongful death lawyers cannot solicit employment for 30 days.  For the same reason, it is possible that a rogue family member or stranger can gain control of an estate because of the limited preference period for immediate family members as personal representative.

Official Arkansas Probate Forms: Think Before You Try a DIY Probate!

The website of the Arkansas Judiciary has a collection of Arkansas Probate Forms that can be found at here.   I think it’s great that the courts publish these forms.  They provide a solid starting point for attorneys practicing probate law.  On the downside, these forms provide a temptation for lay people to attempt a do it yourself probate.  While it may be tempting to try to open and administer a probate yourself using these forms, keep in mind that Arkansas Probate Law is complicated.  There are many deadlines and notice requirements that are very easy for a lay person to miss.  In addition, there are strategic concerns to consider as well.  A lay person could easily lose their opportunity to control the selection of a wrongful death lawyer by not knowing probate rules.  Bottom line:  Hiring an Arkansas Probate Lawyer or Arkansas Probate Attorney will ensure that your loved one’s estate gets proper attention.   If you don’t hire Law Offices of Mark Robinette, please don’t go it alone.  Find an Arkansas Probate and Wills attorney who you can work with and afford.  Attorney fees almost always return more than spent in time, effort, and actual dollars.

Law Offices of Mark Robinette has an Arkansas probate lawyer, Arkansas probate attorney, Arkansas will lawyer, and Arkansas will attorney that accepts will and probate cases in all Arkansas Counties including:  Arkansas County, Ashley County, Baxter County, Benton County, Boone County, Bradley County, Calhoun County, Carroll County, Chicot County, Clark County, Clay County, Cleburne County, Cleveland County, Columbia County, Conway County, Craighead County, Crawford County, Crittenden County, Cross County, Dallas County, Desha County, Drew County, Faulkner County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Garland County, Grant County, Greene County, Hempstead County, Hot Spring County, Howard County, Independence  County, Izard County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Johnson County, Lafayette County, Lawrence County, Lee County, Lincoln County, Little River County, Logan County, Lonoke County, Madison County, Marion County, Miller County, Mississippi County, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Nevada County, Newton County, Ouachita County, Perry County, Phillips County, Pike County, Poinsett County, Polk County, Pope County, Prairie County, Pulaski County, Randolph County, Saline County, Scott County, Searcy County, Sebastian County, Sevier County, Sharp County, St. Francis County, Stone County, Union County, Van Buren County, Washington County, White County, Woodruff County, Yell County

 

Arkansas Probate Basics: The Affidavit for Collection of Small Estates (Part 1)

Learn about the streamlined Arkansas probate procedure for estates valued at less than $100,000.  With the Affidavit for Collection of Small Estates, estate beneficiaries can have the power of an estate administrator for considerably less in filing and attorney’s fees than a standard probate.  The technique is very helpful for real estate title curative, particularly with mineral rights.

Arkansas will and probate attorney and lawyer Mark Robinette is located in Little Rock, Arkansas, but he accepts probate cases throughout the state of Arkansas including:  Arkansas County, Ashley County, Baxter County, Benton County, Boone County, Bradley County, Calhoun County, Carroll County, Chicot County, Clark County, Clay County, Cleburne County, Cleveland County, Columbia County, Conway County, Craighead County, Crawford County, Crittenden County, Cross County, Dallas County, Desha County, Drew County, Faulkner County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Garland County, Grant County, Greene County, Hempstead County, Hot Spring County, Howard County, Independence  County, Izard County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Johnson County, Lafayette County, Lawrence County, Lee County, Lincoln County, Little River County, Logan County, Lonoke County, Madison County, Marion County, Miller County, Mississippi County, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Nevada County, Newton County, Ouachita County, Perry County, Phillips County, Pike County, Poinsett County, Polk County, Pope County, Prairie County, Pulaski County, Randolph County, Saline County, Scott County, Searcy County, Sebastian County, Sevier County, Sharp County, St. Francis County, Stone County, Union County, Van Buren County, Washington County, White County, Woodruff County, and Yell County.

Law Offices of Mark Robinette Accepts Yell County, Arkansas Will and Probate Cases

Law Offices of Mark Robinette practices probate law out Little Rock, Arkansas, but accepts probate law cases in all Arkansas Counties including Yell County, Arkansas. The Yell County Clerk located in the County seat of Danville and Dardanelle handles probate matters in for the County of Yell in the State of Arkansas. Being centrally located within the State of Arkansas allows Mr. Robinette to take cases anywhere in the state. Much of probate practice is done by mail correspondence, so you can hire an Arkansas probate lawyer that practices in another city or town without incurring extra costs. When it comes to the affairs of your departed loved one, Mark Robinette believes in providing thorough service that will ensure that title to the estate’s property is perfect when the probate is concluded.   Arkansas probate lawyer and attorney Mark Robinette takes extra steps that many Arkansas probate lawyers don’t consider to avoid costly problems that appear when details are not considered.

If your departed family member left you property in Yell County Arkansas or the cities of Belleville, Danville, Dardanelle, Havana, Ola, Plainview in County Arkansas, particularly mineral rights, you should give Arkansas probate lawyer attorney Mark Robinette a call today.   Mr. Robinette has years of experience dealing with Arkansas probate law issues related to oil, gas, mineral rights, land, and real estate.   As an Arkansas Probate and Wills lawyer, Mr. Robinette provides the following services:

  • Probate of resident wills
  • Probate of non-resident wills (ancillary probate)
  • Estate administration (for those who die without a will)
  • Will contest litigation
  • Guardianship over the person
  • Guardianship over the estate
  • Affidavits of Small Estates
  • Petitions to Determine Heirship
  • Post mortem paternity actions

Mr. Robinette welcomes inquiries from out-of-state law firms for local counsel services in the probate of non-residents’ wills.   Generally, a non-resident’s will must be offered for probate in Arkansas within 5 years of death. After that time, the intestate heirs may convey the property free and clear of the will.

If you are ready to speak to a Yell County Arkansas probate lawyer or attorney today, call Mark Robinette at 501-251-1076 or email him at info@robinettefirm.com.   Learn more about Mr. Robinette at: http://www.robinettefirm.com/contact/mark-robinette/ Learn more about Arkansas probate law at: http://www.robinettefirm.com/probate-trust/

Law Offices of Mark Robinette Accepts Woodruff County, Arkansas Will and Probate Cases

Law Offices of Mark Robinette practices probate law out Little Rock, Arkansas, but accepts probate law cases in all Arkansas Counties including Woodruff County, Arkansas. The Woodruff County Clerk located in the County seat of Augusta handles probate matters in for the County of Woodruff in the State of Arkansas. Being centrally located within the State of Arkansas allows Mr. Robinette to take cases anywhere in the state. Much of probate practice is done by mail correspondence, so you can hire an Arkansas probate lawyer that practices in another city or town without incurring extra costs. When it comes to the affairs of your departed loved one, Mark Robinette believes in providing thorough service that will ensure that title to the estate’s property is perfect when the probate is concluded.   Arkansas probate lawyer and attorney Mark Robinette takes extra steps that many Arkansas probate lawyers don’t consider to avoid costly problems that appear when details are not considered.

If your departed family member left you property in Woodruff County Arkansas or the cities of Augusta, Cotton Plant, McCrory, Patterson in County Arkansas, particularly mineral rights, you should give Arkansas probate lawyer attorney Mark Robinette a call today.   Mr. Robinette has years of experience dealing with Arkansas probate law issues related to oil, gas, mineral rights, land, and real estate.   As an Arkansas Probate and Wills lawyer, Mr. Robinette provides the following services:

  • Probate of resident wills
  • Probate of non-resident wills (ancillary probate)
  • Estate administration (for those who die without a will)
  • Will contest litigation
  • Guardianship over the person
  • Guardianship over the estate
  • Affidavits of Small Estates
  • Petitions to Determine Heirship
  • Post mortem paternity actions

Mr. Robinette welcomes inquiries from out-of-state law firms for local counsel services in the probate of non-residents’ wills.   Generally, a non-resident’s will must be offered for probate in Arkansas within 5 years of death. After that time, the intestate heirs may convey the property free and clear of the will.

If you are ready to speak to a Woodruff County Arkansas probate lawyer or attorney today, call Mark Robinette at 501-251-1076 or email him at info@robinettefirm.com.   Learn more about Mr. Robinette at: http://www.robinettefirm.com/contact/mark-robinette/ Learn more about Arkansas probate law at: http://www.robinettefirm.com/probate-trust/