When a loved one passes away, the grieving process is often accompanied by a myriad of legal and financial matters.
One crucial aspect of settling an estate involves the probate inventory and accounting process, which plays a pivotal role in ensuring a fair distribution of assets and liabilities among beneficiaries.
While this procedure can vary from state to state, in this blog post, we will focus on the specifics of probate inventory and accounting in the state of Arkansas.
Probate is a legal process that validates a deceased individual’s will and oversees the administration of their estate and involves thorough accounting and documentation.
Understanding the intricacies of the probate inventory and accounting process is essential for both personal representatives, who handle all the assets and financial accounts of the estate, and beneficiaries who stand to inherit from it.
Arkansas, like many other states, has its own set of rules and regulations surrounding probate.
Navigating the probate process can be daunting, particularly when it comes to inventory and accounting tasks.
We will discuss the purpose and importance of inventory and accounting, the responsibilities of the personal representative, the types of assets and liabilities included, as well as the necessary documentation and deadlines involved.
Whether you are a personal representative seeking to fulfill your duties effectively or a beneficiary interested in understanding the probate process better, this comprehensive guide will serve as a valuable resource.
By gaining insight into the inventory and accounting process in Arkansas, you will be better equipped to navigate the probate journey with confidence and make informed decisions along the way.
Now, let’s delve into the intricacies of probate inventory and accounting in Arkansas, uncovering the steps and requirements that shape this essential aspect of estate administration.
What is the Inventory Part of Probate?
When a probate case is opened, the first thing that needs to happen is to appoint someone as the Personal Representative (also known as a Administrator, Executor, etc.) of the estate.
Once someone is appointed as the Personal representative of decedent, a deadline begins running for them to identify and inventory the all the remaining assets and personal property of the decedent.
Arkansas Code Section 28-49-110 says that within two (2) months after the Personal Representative is appointed they must file a “true and complete inventory of all property owned by the decedent at the time of his or her death . . . describing each item of property in detail and setting out the personal representative’s appraisement of real property and the fair market value of the real property, as of the date of death.”
The inventory will have to be notarized and attested to by the Personal Representative and the Personal Representative is required to send a copy to all named beneficiaries of an estate.
An inventory is not required unless all beneficiaries, or distributees, of the estate have filed written waivers of inventory. However, at any time that waiver may be withdrawn and a demand for inventory can be made.
The code further says that if there are errors and omissions in the inventory, there should be an amended inventory filed at the time those errors are discovered.
If you believe that the inventory is not accurate, you should file an objection and state the specific reasons why.
Is a Personal Representative Required in Accounting of Probate?
An accounting is required during a probate at specified times during the probate. Arkansas Code Section 28-52-103 states that:
(a) A personal representative must file with the court a verified account of his or her administration:
(1) Upon filing a petition for final settlement;
(2) Upon the revocation of his or her letters;
(3) Upon his or her application to resign and before his or her resignation is accepted by the court;
(4) Annually during the period of administration unless the court otherwise directs; and
(5) At any other time when directed by the court either of its own motion or on the application of a personal representative or an interested person.
This means that a full accounting must be filed prior to the distribution of estate assets and before a probate can be closed.
If the final account of assets in the probate takes longer than one (1) year, an accounting has to be filed at least yearly on the date the probate case was opened.
Like inventories, an Accounting may also be waived. Also like an inventory, that waiver can be withdrawn and a demand for accounting may be made at any time during the pendency of the probate case if good cause is shown.
After an accounting is filed it is required to be sent to any beneficiaries who have not waived notice of the accounting.
Any beneficiaries will have up to sixty (60) days from the date the accounting was filed to file any objections to the accounting. If you do not file an objection, it may be waived forever.
Why is Inventory and Account in Probate Necessary?
The purpose of inventory and accounting is to make sure all estate and other assets, are dealt with and distributed fairly. If you have any doubts as to the accuracy of an inventory or accounting you should reach out to a knowledgeable and experienced probate attorney to assist with protecting intangible assets and your rights.