Despite the best efforts of estate planning experts both in Fayetteville and throughout the rest of the U.S., a majority of American adults do not have a will. When one to whom you would be a presumed heir dies intestate (without a will), you may think that you and your fellow heirs are in for a significant legal battle over you gets what from their estate. Many clients come to us here at the Gramling Estes Law Firm expecting the same thing, only to then learn that the state has already decided how their loved ones' estates will be dispersed.
Each state has created their own guidelines governing intestate succession in order to avoid the potential for conflict that can occur in such cases. Those for the state of Arkansas can be found in Section 28-9-214 of the state's Wills, Estates and Fiduciary Relationships Code. Here, the descent table stipulates that if you are the direct descendant of an intestate decedent, you are among the first entitled to receive assets and/or property from their estate. If you are the decedent's spouse, you will inherit their estate only if they left no surviving descendants. You would be entitled to the entire estate if you have been married for more than three years; if you were married for less time than that, you would receive 50 percent of the estate, and the other half would go the decedent's parents.
Following direct descendants and spouses, the order of intestate succession is as follows:
- Descendants of grandparents
If you are only distantly related to the decedent, you would only have an inheritance if none of the aforementioned parties are still alive. More information on inheritance stipulations can be found throughout our site.