FAQ: What Happens If You Die Without A Will?

by admin on August 13, 2014 in FAQ

Contributed by Stephen Butler

Arkansas law provides a procedure for “intestate succession” which is followed when you die without a Will (known as “dying intestate”). Your heirs can still proceed with an administration of the estate, which is which is the same process as a probate, but the law of intestacy will direct the distribution of your assets (instead of your Will). As a preliminary matter, there are several statutory exemptions which must be addressed before your property will be distributed to anyone.  The Court will first address (1) the dower or curtesy (marital rights) of your surviving spouse; (2) the homestead right of your surviving spouse; and (3) additional statutory rights and allowances to the surviving spouse and minor children.

After allowing for these exemptions and payments of Court approved expenses of administration and creditors, if applicable, the remainder of your property will be distributed in the order prescribed by the Arkansas statute, Ark. Code 28-9-214, Tables of descents:

1) First, to the children of the intestate and the descendants of each child of the intestate who may have predeceased the intestate.

(2) Second, if the intestate is survived by no descendant, to the intestate’s surviving spouse unless the intestate and the surviving spouse had been continuously married less than three (3) years next preceding the death of the intestate, in which event the surviving spouse will take merely fifty percent (50%) of the intestate’s heritable estate;

(3) Third, if the intestate is survived by no descendant or spouse, to the intestate’s surviving parents, sharing equally, or to the sole surviving parent if only one (1) of them shall be living;

(4) Fourth, if the intestate is survived by no descendant but is survived by a spouse to whom the intestate has been continuously married less than three (3) years next preceding the death of the intestate, the entire portion of his or her heritable estate which does not pass to the surviving spouse under subdivision (2) of this section shall pass to the intestate’s surviving parents, sharing equally, or to the sole surviving parent if only one (1) of them shall be living;

(5) Fifth, if the intestate is survived by no descendant or parent, then all of his or her heritable estate which under subdivisions (3) and (4) of this section would have vested in the intestate’s surviving parent or parents will pass to the intestate’s brothers and sisters and the descendants of any brothers and sisters of the intestate who may have predeceased the intestate, such brothers, sisters, and descendants;

(6) Sixth, if the intestate is survived by no descendant, then in respect to such portion of his or her heritable estate as does not pass under subdivisions (2)-(5) of this section, the inheriting class will be the surviving grandparents, uncles, and aunts of the intestate. In this situation, each surviving grandparent shall take the same share as each surviving uncle and aunt, and no distinction shall be made between the paternal and maternal sides. In other words, a maternal grandparent, uncle, or aunt shall take the same share as a paternal grandparent, uncle, or aunt and vice versa. If any uncle or aunt of the intestate shall predecease the intestate, the descendants of the deceased uncle or aunt will take, per capita or per stirpes, the share the decedent would have taken if he or she had survived the intestate.

(7) Seventh, if the intestate is survived by no descendant, then in respect to the portion of his or her estate as does not pass under subdivisions (2)-(6) of this section, the inheriting class will be the surviving great-grandparents and great-uncles and great-aunts of the intestate. In this situation, each surviving great-grandparent shall take the same share as each surviving great-uncle and great-aunt, and no distinction shall be made between the paternal and maternal sides. In other words, a maternal great-grandparent, great-uncle, or great-aunt shall take the same share as a paternal great-grandparent, great-uncle, or great-aunt and vice versa. If any great-uncle or great-aunt shall predecease the intestate, the descendants of the decedent will take, per capita or per stirpes, the share the decedent would have taken if he or she had survived the intestate; and

(8) Eighth, if heirs capable of inheriting the entire heritable estate cannot be found within the inheriting classes prescribed in subdivisions (1)-(7) of this section, the real and personal property of the intestate, or the portion not passing under those subdivisions, shall pass according to § 28-9-215, devolution when all or some portion of a heritable estate does not pass

CONTACT

Main:
224 S. 2nd St. Rogers, AR 72756

Ball Plaza:
112 W. Center Street, #555 Fayetteville, AR 72701

STAY IN TOUCH

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

CONTACT US

Main:
224 S. 2nd St. Rogers, AR 72756


Ball Plaza:
112 W. Center Street, #555 Fayetteville, AR 72701
ft