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What kinds of issues might an estate administrator encounter?

Taking care of the details when closing out an estate after a loved one's death in Arkansas can be a tough thing to handle. Not only is there the emotional turmoil accompanying the loss, complications of estate administration can arise if the estate happens to be intricately structured.

It doesn't have to take much for speed bumps to surface. Something as simple as ownership of property in another state can do it, and with travel being as easy as it is today, such a scenario is easy to imagine. To be confident that things will go as smoothly as possible, it helps to work with skilled legal counsel.

The issue of properties in multiple states can pose a challenge because each state has its own set of laws. Generally speaking, the state in which the decedent was living at the time of death becomes the state where probate is handled. If property in another state exists, though, that state's laws might require an ancillary proceeding to be held there. In such cases, a second attorney might need to be consulted.

Another issue that could influence progress of estate administration has to do with whether the probate proceedings are formal or informal. In an informal model, matters might be resolved with the filing of proper documents and an approval after court review. If the decedent's will is challenged, however, the case could escalate to formal hearings.

In other jurisdictions, the process might start with a formal hearing but revert to informal processes after the naming of the personal representative who will serve as the administrator.

Efforts are being made to make the process of collecting, managing and distributing estates easier. Many states have adopted what is called the Uniform Probate Code (UPC). However, Arkansas is not among them. Rather, it has gradually changed existing laws to bring them into alignment with some elements of the UPC. The result is something of a patchwork that can make for some confusion without proper counsel.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Administer an Estate," accessed Aug. 18, 2016

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