Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight
delay between your follow ups and my replies.
I am very sorry for your loss. What you are looking for is a court order that states that you are the representative of the estate, normally called a Letter of Testamentary/Administration
When someone passes away, then their estate has to be distributed and someone has to "represent" the estate. The problem is that without probate - with assets such as titled property or bank accounts - this is hard to do. This is because you cannot switch over the assets without an order from the probate court, and simply a Certificate of Death will not do. A Certificate of Death simply states that someone has passed on, but does not give you the right to really do anything in the deceased's name.
So one files probate. Once probate is filed, the Executor of the estate gets something called a Letter of Testament/Administration
(hereinafter "Letter"). This Letter will allow the Executor to switch over the assets from the deceased individual to whoever will own the property. It is like a "Power of Attorney
," but from the Court. Without that Letter, there is no way to transfer titled property and switch the assets into your hands. It also allows you to represent the estate.
Also, if his estate is less than a certain amount, it may qualify for small estate administration with is much quicker and is often via mail - see here
for an explanation, and here
for an example of an affidavit to be filed with the court.
To begin this matter, you'd need to file probate with the Circuit Court
Clerk, who serves as "intake" for the Probate Court. You can call(NNN) NNN-NNNNfor more help.
An attorney is recommended. If finances are an issue, I can recommend three resources. First, here is a list of all pro bono work in the state...http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/directory/arkansas.html
…and another list:http://www.lawhelp.org
Finally, you may call your local law school and see if they have a legal clinic place available. The legal clinic is a free service the school(s) provide to the community. While they are often overbooked, they have openings sometimes. Here is the list law schools in your state:http://www.hg.org/law-schools-arkansas.asp
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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