What Happens When I Die Without a Will?
If you pass without a will, the results can often be unexpected and devastating. You leave the results up to a judge, not your or your family.
When a person dies without a will they are said to be “intestate.” That is, without a will. When this happens, the state’s laws will be used to determine who gets what, when, how, and how much.
In Arkansas here is the basic plan for your stuff:
- Your spouse gets one third of your money and cash accounts
- Your spouse gets a one third interest in your real estate for your spouse’s lifetime. Your spouse can’t sell without getting your children’s permission. Then when it is sold, your spouse will only get a portion of the money.
- The entire process is overseen by a judge. It is the judge’s job to make sure the state law is followed. It is a paperwork intensive process that will take 8 months or more to complete.
If you are not married but living with somebody, then they won’t get anything. In Arkansas only relatives are in the chain of inheritance. Your children first, then parents, then siblings, ad naseum. It can be absolutely devastating to the partner.
If it is a blended family, then only your children inherit. Your spouse’s children aren’t related by blood or adoption so they don’t inherit.
Children of the “half-blood” are considered to be full children for inheritance under the law. So, if you had children with another person, remarried, had more children all your children would inherit from you. The only way to prevent that from happening is with a plan.