When someone dies, their estate goes through a process called probate. This process can be complicated and time-consuming, and it’s often a good idea to seek legal help. One way to make the probate process easier is to sign a waiver. In this blog post, we will discuss what Arkansas probate waivers are and whether or not you should sign one.
What is a Probate Waiver in the Arkansas Probate Process?
A waiver is a document where a person agrees to waive something that they are legally entitled to. They are not always bad. If everyone is getting along and trusts each other, waivers will simplify and speed up the probate process. (This typically makes things cheaper).
What kinds of Waivers are there in Arkansas Probate Proceedings?
What is a Waiver of Notice: A waiver of notice is a document that you or your attorney can sign that says you waive formal notice of the probate proceedings. They are typically used to speed up the proceedings and lower the cost of having to notify everyone. You can still request copies of everything, but by waiving you can agree to receive them in an informal way (e.g. via email, which is not allowed under the rules unless you are an attorney).
What is an Inventory in an Arkansas Probate?
An inventory is a list of everything the decedent (the person that passed away) owned at the time of his or her death and what the property was worth on the date of death.
The personal representative (estate administrator) is required to file an inventory within 2 months of being appointed. The inventory should be amended if there are errors or omissions in the previous inventory.
Waiver of Inventory: A waiver of inventory is a document that lets the court know that you are not requiring the personal representative (executor) to file an inventory in the probate proceeding. You can still request a list of the assets, you are just waiving the formal filing of an inventory. You can revoke your waiver of Inventory. More on this is below.
What is an Accounting in an Arkansas Probate?
An Accounting lets everyone involved know what has happened with the inventory (money and property) of an estate. The accounting should be filed annually while the probate is opened and when you close the estate. It should include any bills paid, any distributions made, any money or income collected, any money owed, and the balance of the assets on hand.
Waiver of Accounting: A waiver of accounting is a document that lets everyone in the case know that you are not requiring the personal representative (executor) to file an accounting in the probate process.
What is a Consent in a Probate Proceeding?
A Consent lets the probate court know that you do not have any issue with what the Petitioner is asking the Court to do. That could be just appointing a personal representative (executor) or appointing a personal representative and probating a Last Will & Testament.
Can I Revoke my Waiver under Arkansas Probate Laws?
Yes. You can revoke a waiver after it has been signed and filed. You need to revoke it in writing and file it with the Court. After revoking your waiver you should also file a motion with the Court asking for whatever you revoked your waiver to. For instance, if you revoked your Waiver of Inventory, then you should file the revocation with the Court and follow that with a motion for the personal representative to File and Inventory within 30 days.
That is just an example, every situation is different and you should always discuss any legal issues with an attorney.
What Are Some Reasons You Should Not Sign a Waiver in an Arkansas Probate:
- Someone wants to object to the person seeking to become an executor
- Someone believes that the will is invalid. The following scenarios would cause a will to be invalid:
- The decedent was coerced to create the will;
- Someone exerted undue influence over the decedent;
- The deceased was not sober during the ceremony of the will signing;
- The deceased was mentally incapacitated during the will signing;
- During the will signing ceremony, the proper legal procedures were not followed.
- For example in Arkansas, the will must contain testamentary intent and be signed by two witnesses.
- The will is fraudulent.
- Someone believes they should administer the distribution of assets as opposed to the nominated executor.
The probate laws are in place to make sure that interested parties receive adequate notice throughout the probate process. Moreover, to make sure the last will and testament is a valid instrument.
A waiver of notice also typically includes an entry of appearance. An entry of appearance just lets the court know that you are representing yourself. If you decide to revoke your waiver, it will also let them know where to send documents.
Remember that it is best to talk to an estate lawyer before signing any legal document. If you receive any probate form or consent form, please talk to a lawyer before signing any consent form or waiver. Some potential downsides are that you are waiving your right to receive some court-ordered document from the administrator and/or notice of a proceeding or a hearing.
Why Should I Sign a Waiver in an Arkansas Probate?
To be honest, signing a Waiver in a Probate is generally a good idea. They help simplify the process, complete the probate quicker, and tend to make it less expensive. As long as you trust the administrator (they do have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries) will follow the instructions of the deceased then it should be fine.
Generally speaking, if everyone agrees you can get through the process without having a hearing. Of course, you still need to follow the law and make sure every beneficiary gets his or her inheritance, but it is not bad to close out estates with every having a court date.
Have you received a Waiver in an Arkansas Probate Recently?
If you have and you are curious about what to do, feel free to give us a call at 501.891.6000 or send us a text at 501.888.4357. Our free strategy sessions on Arkansas probate problems are just a click away.