In Arkansas, an estate can avoid the probate process if the deceased created a valid family trust prior to death. A valid will is not enough to avoid the probate process. Before you can execute the estate and pay the debts and distribute the assets, you must be appointed by the probate court as the estate executor. In most situations, this process is a formality unless someone contests your ability or objectivity to execute the estate.
Go to the Arkansas county family court branch nearest to you. Request a "Petition for Appointment" from the court clerk.
Complete the petition with your name, contact information as the potential executor for the estate of the deceased person. Include a will if the deceased left one, instructing you as the executor or nominate yourself for the job.
Submit the form with the court and send conformed court copies to all known heirs. Interested parties must file a petition against your filing in a "reasonable time." If no conflict arises after all parties have been notified, you will be appointed 30 to 90 days after the filing.
Obtain the "Notice of Appointment as Executor" in order to start acting on behalf of the estate. Once you have this notice, you can open an estate an account, liquidate property, pay debts and distribute assets.