Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

Common myths surrounding probate

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | Probate

Probate is often misunderstood and surrounded by numerous myths. Knowing the facts helps alleviate concerns and misconceptions.

Myth 1: Probate always takes a long time

Many people believe probate takes years to complete. While some cases can take longer, many probate cases in Arkansas resolve in a few months. The complexity of the estate and any disputes among heirs greatly influence the duration.

Myth 2: Probate costs a fortune

Another common myth suggests probate will drain the estate’s assets due to high costs. Probate costs remain reasonable and proportional to the estate’s value. These costs include court fees, attorney fees, and executor fees, which state law regulates to prevent excessive charges.

Myth 3: A will eliminates the need for probate

Even with a valid will, probate is often still necessary. The court needs to authenticate the will, and all parties must settle the estate according to the will’s instructions. However, having a will can simplify the probate process, making it quicker and less contentious.

Myth 4: Only large estates go through probate

Probate is not limited to large estates. In Arkansas, estates of all sizes go through probate. However, there are simplified probate procedures for smaller estates, which make the process faster and less expensive.

Myth 5: Probate exposes private affairs to the public

Many worry that probate will expose their private affairs to the public. While probate is a public process, sensitive information typically stays private. Details like the estate’s value and the beneficiaries’ names may become public, but personal and financial information generally remains confidential.

Myths debunked: A clearer view of probate

Understanding the realities of probate helps ease concerns and makes the process smoother. While often portrayed negatively, probate serves an essential function in honoring a deceased person’s wishes and distributing their estate fairly. By debunking these myths, individuals can better prepare for the probate process and make informed decisions about their estate planning.