Writing a will is important for people of any financial background, especially those with young children and matters of guardianship to consider. If someone dies without a will, however, it can be difficult for the surviving family to navigate the distribution of assets afterward.
Many people mistakenly believe that dying without a will means that their spouse will simply inherit everything. The situation tends to be more complicated, but you can gain a clear understanding of the process by learning what happens to someone’s property if they die without a will in Arkansas.
Who inherits property if the deceased has no will?
Arkansas inheritance laws outline the order of intestate succession. If the deceased has:
- Descendants but no spouse, the descendants inherit everything
- A spouse of 3 or more years but no children, the spouse inherits everything
- A spouse of less than 3 years but no children, the spouse and extended relatives split the property
- A spouse and children, the spouse and children split the property
If the deceased has no immediate family, then the parents are next in line of succession followed by any siblings.
Are there alternatives to a will?
Having an estate plan can save your family much effort and confusion when it comes to matters of inheritance, but you might still wish to avoid writing a will in order to avoid probate. Choosing to pass on your assets through a revocable living trust can help your family bypass the probate process while also ensuring you have control over your entire estate while you are alive.
If someone dies without a will, then the state’s intestate laws will determine the distribution of assets. This takes full control of the estate out of the family’s hands, so it is often better to prepare an estate plan.