Can an Executor refuse to close out the estate for any reason?

How Long Can a Probate (Estate Administration) Stay Open?

In Arkansas, a fast probate is 9-12 months and a slow probate is as long as you want it to be. A probate can stay open for as long as is necessary to properly administer the estate.

This can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate, as well as the efficiency of the personal representative (also known as the executor) in carrying out their duties.

Factors that can contribute to the length of probate include:

  • The need to locate and notify all beneficiaries and heirs
  • The need to locate and inventory the deceased person’s assets
  • The need to pay debts and taxes
  • The need to resolve any disputes or challenges to the will
  • The need to sell assets, such as real estate, in order to distribute the proceeds to the beneficiaries

To ensure the probate process is over as soon as possible and doesn’t linger, you can act quickly in your role as personal representative of an estate. Gathering all documents needed, obtaining an attorney, and promptly communicating with beneficiaries is essential to wrapping up probate quickly.

How long Can the Executor hold Estate Funds? 

The executor of an estate has fiduciary duties to manage the estate’s property and distribute it to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will and Arkansas laws.

The executor should not hold on to estate funds for an unnecessarily long period of time but should use them to pay any debts and expenses of the estate and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries as soon as possible.

The Executor must move forward with the estate administration in a reasonable manner. If the executor fails to do that an interested party can petition the court and ask to have the executor removed.

How Soon Must an Executor Close a Probate

There is no preset time limit for closing the estate. However, there are time limits to other duties an executor must perform:

Some duties include:

  • Providing an inventory 45 days after being appointed,
  • Providing an annual accounting,
  • Updating the Inventory when new property is discovered.

If an executor fails to do these things you can ask the court to remove the executor.

Can you ask the Probate Court to Close the Estate?

Only the Executor can close an Estate. When a personal representative (sometimes referred to as an executor) has performed all the necessary duties for an estate – settling debts, paying expenses, and distributing assets – they can petition the probate court to close it. This must be done by them alone in order for the closure of the estate to occur.

If an executor’s failure is keeping your loved one’s estate open too long, or not notifying beneficiaries or other interested parties, then you can ask the court to remove an executor.

The Court will appoint a new executor and in the interest of other beneficiaries try to get the estate closed and transfer the remaining property to the estate’s beneficiaries.

Can an Executor use Estate Assets?

As the executor (also known as the personal representative) of an estate, they are responsible for managing the estate’s property and distributing it to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will and Arkansas law.

Generally, they are allowed to use the assets of the estate to pay the debts and expenses of the estate. This can include things like funeral and burial expenses, unpaid bills, and taxes.

Also, the estate funds can be used to maintain any property owned by the estate, such as paying the mortgage or property taxes on a house.

That being said, some executors use funds for personal expenses. This creates and conflict of interest and is a violation of their fiduciary duty to act in good faith and not partake in self-dealing.

An interested party may file a removal action and request the probate court remove an executor. If you think an executor has used money or bank accounts that were supposed to go to a beneficiary, then you should hire an experienced probate lawyer.

What to do if an Executor won’t close an estate?

If an executor is not acting in accordance with Arkansas law or the will’s terms, then you should proceed to hire an attorney and file a petition with the court to remove the executor. The executor must treat the estate’s assets with care. It is the duty of an executor of an estate to settle the estate as quickly as possible.