Probate question in Arkansas

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Latest post 06-26-2009 9:12 PM by adjuster jack. 6 replies.
  • 06-26-2009 1:12 AM

    • Basigner
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    • AR
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    Probate question in Arkansas

    My grandmother passed away about 8 months ago and my mother is the executrix of her will. The will is very straight forward, share and share alike between the other two siblings, who are all in agreement about everything.

    The estate is fairly simple, just the house and it's contents (estimated at around 160k) and my mother has recently retained a lawyer to handle the probate.

    The question is this: my mother and her siblings have heard from at least one lawyer friend and several real estate agents that the house can be put on the market during the probate period if a special order from the probate judge is obtained. If the house sold during that time the money would be put in an escrow account until the probate is settled.

    When asking the lawyer my mother retained about this he said he had to refer to a colleague and returned a few minutes later and said the colleague had never heard of such a thing.

    The estate is totally uncontested, no creditors at all and the will is not disputed by the heirs. They simply wish to sell the house as quickly as possible as one of the heirs could really use the money.

    I would appreciate any feedback.

     

     

     

  • 06-26-2009 2:46 AM In reply to

    Re: Probate question in Arkansas

    I'd be seriously questioning the quality of your mother's lawyer and the colleague.

    I can't imagine why the executor couldn't sell assets for cash and distribute the cash at close of probate if that's what all the siblings agree to.

    Seems to me to be more efficient to do that during the probate period anyway.

    That's what I did with my mother's estate. I maintained an estate account. My sibs and I sold household stuff that we didn't want to keep, sold her car, sold her co-op, then accounted for all the money, took care of expenses. I wrote checks to my sibs out of the estate account and then filed the closing papers with the probate court. That was in NY, but ought to be common practice everywhere.

    In fact, AR has an informal process for estates up to 100,000. With that liberal an amount for small estates, I would think probate wouldn't be too involved for just a house and its contents.

    I just hope your Mom didn't get roped in to some kind of bizarre fee agreement that ends up letting the lawyer do as much as he wants for a great big bill at the end.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 06-26-2009 2:11 PM In reply to

    How young?

    Is this lawyer?  Is his associate also similarly young?  (Sometimes new attorneys go into practice with each other, without real experience.)

    If the home isn't the subject of a specific devise to an individual or group and the estate is just to be divided, there shouldn't be a problem.  The executrix is charged with managing the property for the benefit of the heirs.  If real estate prices were plummeting, the exe would probably have a duty to sell ASAP.

    If those attorneys won't pursue this, I'd consult a different firm about taking over.  Since this is about money, it may be more cost-effective to bail on the current attorneys and pay them, hire new attorneys and get to selling.

  • 06-26-2009 2:18 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    • PA
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    Re: Probate question in Arkansas

    No matter how much of a rush a heir may be to need money the executrix would be wise not to distribute full shares until she is quite sure that all debts and exopenses of estate have been met.

    A partical distribution may be workable in your state.....



  • 06-26-2009 3:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Probate question in Arkansas

    Drew:
    A partical distribution may be workable in your state.....

    He means partial.

    And I would avoid that. Once you distribute any money to the heirs, if something unexpected happens, you won't be able to get it back, especially from the heir who desperately needed money and probably blew it all the minute he got it.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 06-26-2009 8:35 PM In reply to

    • Basigner
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    • AR
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    Re: Probate question in Arkansas

    First let me thank all of you for your sound advice.

    The main concern the heirs have is being able to put the house on the market (whether it sells or not at least we are not waiting 6 months for the close of probate) while the estate is still in probate.

    The consensus seems to be that as the executrix and court appointed Representative, my mother could sell the house, cars, etc. and keep any money made by these sales in an account to be distributed after probate is closed.

    In fact Mom just received a letter from the lawyer today saying that he had (finally) filed the relevant probate forms with the clerk and was awaiting acceptance from the judge.

    Frankly I'm surprised that the lawyers seem so unaware of the concept of selling property while in probate, as long as that money is not distributed til all claims against the estate (there are none) are settled.

    Again the main thing is that they just want to be able to put the house on the market (and perhaps have an estate sale) without sitting on their hands for 6 months while probate grinds along.

    If, as someone had suggested, we decided to fire this lawyer and go with someone else I'm assuming we would have to pay his fee that he estimated on the initial contract.

    While the "head" lawyer isn't a young man, his associate (to whom he always confers and is the lawyer who actually filed the papers with the Court) is a younger man. The "head" lawyer was recommended to us by the lawyer who originally drew up my Grandmother's will. He even attended her funeral, but apparently doesn't know much about probate.

    Is it legal to seek advice from another attorney about how she should proceed from this point, either on or off the record?

  • 06-26-2009 9:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Probate question in Arkansas

    Basigner:
    Is it legal to seek advice from another attorney about how she should proceed from this point, either on or off the record?

    Of course, it's legal.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
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