How Long Does It Take to Probate an Estate in Arkansas?

“Going through probate” or “probating an estate” means  the same thing in Arkansas.  It means petitioning a Court with jurisdiction over the person or property in Arkansas to probate a will, appoint a fiduciary (whether administrator, executor, or personal representative), or both.  The proper Court is the Arkansas County of residence or the Arkansas County where the deceased had the most property.   This fiduciary serves under supervision of the court for period of at least 6 months.  It takes about 1 to 4 weeks to get someone appointed, so as a practical matter, it will take around 7 months to probate an estate in Arkansas in a best case scenario.  More practically, the timeline for probating an estate in Arkansas is something like:

Day 1:  Consultation, file setup, fee agreement, and information intake.

Day 2-10:  Draft of petition, review by client, revisions by lawyer.  Client returns signed and notarized petition.

Day 11-20:  Filing of petition, drafting of order admitting will to probate and appointing fiduciary.

Day 21-30: Client returns acceptance of appointment signed. Lawyer files acceptance. Clerk of Court issues letters of Administration.

Day 31-40:  Lawyer runs notice of probate in Newspaper of bona fide circulation.  Lawyer sends notice of probate to parties entitled to notice under statute.  Fiduciary files inventory with Court.

Day 41-220:  This is the six month claims period.  A lot can happen in this time.  Creditors may make claims.  Property might be sold to pay claims, etc.

Day 221-230:  Final inventory prepared.  Final accounting prepared.  Petition for final distribution. Petition to close. Orders for each.

The typical Arkansas probate is around 230 days plus or minus 20 days.  Usually, the time runs longer because clients don’t return signed papers as quickly as they should or some action gets delayed in hopes of avoiding expense (e.g. obtaining entries of appearance instead of filing formal notices).

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