What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Arkansas

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In Arkansas, the absence of a legally valid will lead to various uncertainties. Understanding the legal implications of dying without a will is important. It is also known as ‘dying intestate.’

This article will delve into the specific legal details of what happens if you die without a will in Arkansas.

It will also provide authoritative information and authoritative sources for your reference.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Arkansas? – The Intestate Succession In Arkansas

Intestate succession is the legal process that governs the distribution of a deceased person’s estate when they do not leave behind a valid will.

In Arkansas, the laws of intestate succession are outlined in the Arkansas Code Title 28.

Spouses In Arkansas Inheritance Law

In Arkansas, if you die without a will (intestate), the distribution of your estate to your surviving spouse depends on whether you have any surviving descendants.

The Arkansas Code governs the rules of intestate succession.

Here’s an overview of how the inheritance of a surviving spouse is determined:

No Surviving Descendants: 

If the deceased person has no surviving descendants (children or descendants of deceased children), the surviving spouse is entitled to inherit the estate.

This includes both community property and separate property.

Surviving Descendants: 

If the deceased person has surviving descendants, the distribution to the surviving spouse is determined as follows:

– If the surviving spouse and the descendants are all descendants of the deceased person.

Here, the surviving spouse inherits the entire estate.

– If the deceased person has surviving descendants, but one or more of those descendants are not the descendants of the surviving spouse.

Here, the surviving spouse is entitled to the estate’s portion.

This is as follows:

– The surviving spouse inherits the initial $50,000 of the estate.

– After receiving the initial $50,000, the surviving spouse gets one-half (1/2) of the remaining estate.

-The other half of the remaining estate goes to the deceased person’s descendants.

Due to legislative updates or revisions, Arkansas’s intestate succession laws may change.

Therefore, it’s advisable to consult the current Arkansas statutes or seek legal counsel for the most up-to-date information.

It also ensures that your estate planning aligns with your wishes and the state’s laws.

Consulting with an attorney can also guide any specific circumstances or nuances that may apply to your situation.

Thus, it helps to know what happens if you die without a will in Arkansas.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Arkansas? – Children In Arkansas Inheritance Law

In Arkansas, the laws regarding children’s inheritance when an individual dies without a will (intestate) can be found in the Arkansas Code Title 28.

These laws outline the rules for distributing the deceased person’s estate among surviving family members, including children. 

The specifics of how children inherit without a will depend on the family structure and the presence of other surviving relatives.

Here is a summary of the key points related to children’s inheritance:

When There Is A Surviving Spouse And Children:

– The surviving spouse is entitled to inherit the first $50,000 of the deceased person’s estate.

– After the spouse receives this initial $50,000, the remaining estate is divided into two equal parts.

– One-half of the remaining estate is for the surviving spouse.

– The other half is distributed equally among the children.

When There Are Surviving Children But No Surviving Spouse:

Let’s see this case:

– The children inherit the entire estate equally, each receiving an equal share.

When There Are No Surviving Spouses Or Children:

– If there are surviving parents, the estate will go to the deceased person’s parents.

– Without surviving parents, the estate may pass to the deceased’s siblings or descendants.

It’s essential to note that if there are multiple children, they will generally share equally in the inheritance.

If any child predeceased the deceased person, the deceased child’s share may pass to their descendants if applicable.

Additionally, estate planning through the creation of a will can help individuals.

It can specify their preferences for asset distribution and guardianship of minor children.

Also, the other important matters related to their estate are dealt with through it.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Arkansas? – The Relatives In Arkansas Inheritance Law

In Arkansas Inheritance Law, when an individual dies without a will (intestate), the law dictates that the estate may pass to more distant relatives.

This applies when there are no surviving close relatives, such as a spouse, children, parents, or siblings,

The term “extended relatives” encompasses relatives who are more distant regarding blood relationships.

These extended relatives can include aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives who are not immediate family members.

It’s important to note that the specific order of inheritance among extended relatives can vary.

It depends on the circumstances and the presence of surviving relatives.

Arkansas intestate succession laws prioritize closer relatives over more distant ones when distributing an intestate estate.

Suppose there are no surviving relatives, whether close or extended.

In that case, the estate may eventually escheat to the state.

It means that the assets would become the property of the state of Arkansas. 

Applying these laws can be complicated and may depend on various factors.

Legal advice can help ensure that your estate is distributed under the applicable laws and your wishes.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Arkansas? – The Probate Process

The probate process in Arkansas can be time-consuming and costly.

It involves court proceedings to validate the will’s absence, appoint an administrator, and oversee the distribution of assets.

The Arkansas Probate Code governs this process.

The probate process in Arkansas involves several steps, specifically when an individual dies without a will.

These are to settle the deceased person’s estate and distribute their assets. 

Here is an overview of the probate process in Arkansas for intestate estates:

1. Filing A Petition:

The process typically begins with filing a petition in the appropriate county court.

An interested party may file this petition, such as a family member, creditor, or estate attorney.

The petition initiates the probate proceedings and requests the court to appoint an administrator to manage the estate.

2. Appointment Of An Administrator:

If the court finds the petition valid and there is no valid will, it will appoint an administrator to oversee the estate’s administration.

The administrator is usually a close relative of the deceased, such as a surviving spouse or adult child.

Still, it could also be another interested party if no eligible family member steps forward.

3. Inventory And Appraisal:

The administrator is responsible for identifying, gathering, and valuing the deceased person’s assets. 

This includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investments, and other assets.

An inventory and appraisal report must be filed with the court, listing the assets and their estimated values.

4. Notice To Creditors And Beneficiaries:

The administrator must provide notice to known creditors of the estate.

It allows them a specified period to make claims against the estate. 

Notice is also given to potential heirs and beneficiaries.

This informs them of their rights and the pending probate proceedings.

5. Payment Of Debts And Taxes:

The administrator is responsible for paying the deceased person’s outstanding debts.

It includes funeral expenses, medical bills, and other obligations

Additionally, any estate taxes owed to the state or federal government must be addressed.

6. Distribution Of Assets: 

After settling debts and taxes, the administrator will distribute the remaining assets by Arkansas’s intestate succession laws

As outlined in the previous response, these laws dictate how the estate should be divided among surviving relatives.

7. Final Accounting: 

The administrator is required to provide a final accounting to the court.

This details all financial transactions, distributions, and expenses related to the estate.

8. Closing The Estate: 

Once the court is satisfied that all debts have been paid.

Also, the taxes settled and assets distributed according to the law will issue an order closing the estate. 

At this point, the probate process is complete.

Additionally, the specific procedures and requirements may vary depending on the circumstances of each estate. 

Seek legal counsel from an experienced probate attorney in Arkansas.

It is advisable to navigate the probate process effectively and meet all legal obligations.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Arkansas? – The Challenges And Complexities

Dying without a will in Arkansas can lead to potential challenges and complexities.

Especially, it is in blended families, stepchildren, or non-traditional relationships.

To avoid disputes, create a comprehensive and legally valid will that clearly outlines your intentions.

These will be regarding asset distribution, and guardianship of minor children is advisable.

This way, knowing what happens if you die without a will in Arkansas will be helpful for you.


In Arkansas, dying without a will can result in a distribution of assets that may not align with your preferences. 

Additionally, staying informed about Arkansas’s intestate succession laws.

Also, the legal information about the probate procedures and estate planning options can help you make informed decisions.

These are to protect your estate and provide for your loved ones during your passing.

Thus, the above guide helps us understand what happens if you die without a will in Arkansas.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is Intestate Succession In Arkansas?

Intestate succession in Arkansas refers to the legal process.

Here, it determines how a deceased person’s assets are distributed when they die without a valid will.

The Arkansas Code, specifically Title 28, Subtitle 4, Chapter 9, Sections 28-9-214 to 28-9-218, outlines the rules for intestate succession.

2. Who Inherits My Estate If I Die Without A Will In Arkansas?

The distribution of your estate depends on your surviving relatives.

Generally, if you have a surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings, they will inherit your assets based on a specific order of priority defined by Arkansas law.

3. What Happens If I Have A Surviving Spouse And Children?

In such cases, your surviving spouse is entitled to a portion of your estate (the first $50,000 plus half of the remaining assets), while the remaining half is divided among your children equally.

4. What If I Have No Surviving Spouse, Children, Parents, Or Siblings?

Without these close relatives, your estate may pass to more distant relatives, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, or even more remote family members, as defined by Arkansas intestate succession laws.

5. Can My Estate Escheat To The State Of Arkansas?

Yes, if there are no surviving relatives, close or extended, your estate may ultimately escheat to the state of Arkansas.

This means your assets become the property of the state.

6. How Can I Ensure My Wishes Are Honored If I Don’t Want Intestate Succession To Apply?

Ensure your assets are distributed according to specific wishes.

It is crucial to create a legally valid will.

Consult with an estate planning attorney anywhere in Arkansas to draft a will that reflects your intentions and helps avoid the complexities of intestate succession.

Terry L. Crump

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