When it comes to planning for your loved ones’ future, establishing a last will and testament is an essential step. Your will outlines your final wishes and explains how you want your assets distributed upon your death. Unfortunately, many people end up putting off writing a will until it’s too late, and this can have some serious consequences for your loved ones. Here’s what happens if you pass away without a will in Arkansas.
The Court Oversees the Process
If you pass away without a will, your estate will be classified as “intestate.” This legal term simply means that the owner of the estate died without a will in place. The court is responsible for overseeing the distribution of assets for all intestate estates. They follow the laws of succession in Arkansas to determine who inherits the property and manage the distribution of those assets in their entirety.
Your Estate May Be Divvied Up
Under Arkansas state law, an intestate estate will be divided between your spouse and any descendants. If you don’t have children or other descendants, your spouse will inherit half of your personal property (items not real estate) and all of your real estate. If you have children or descendants, your spouse will inherit a third of the personal property and real estate. The rest of the assets will be distributed between your children and descendants.
If you pass away without a spouse or children, your surviving parents or siblings will inherit the full value of your estate. If you have no surviving immediate family members, the estate will pass to your closest relative. The court will divide your property according to the law. Without a clearly written will, there’s no way to guarantee that your estate will go to the people you want it to.
Your Spouse and Descendants May Struggle to Honor Your Wishes
When you pass away without a will, the court decides everything. Your loved ones, the court, and any other parties involved won’t know what you wanted or how you wanted your assets distributed. This means your loved ones won’t know how to honor your final wishes or if the legal distribution of your assets was, in fact, what you wanted. Not honoring your final wishes can be difficult for your loved ones, especially if they know you’re passionate about a specific cause or have always talked about giving a certain heirloom to a specific family member or friend.
Write Your Will Today
While the court can divide your assets and distribute your estate to your loved ones if you pass away without a will, it’s only done according to the law. The court has no way to determine your true final wishes or ensure your assets are divided the way you want them to be. Instead of leaving things up to chance, take the time to create a will now. Contact the team at L. Jennings Law Firm to schedule a free consultation and let our estate planning experts help you create a clear, actionable will that looks out for your loved ones’ best interests and allows them to honor your final wishes.