What Happens When Someone Dies Without A Will?

Have you ever thought about how you’d like to die? The majority of people hope to make it to old age and pass away peacefully in their sleep or surrounded by loved ones.

But not everyone gets a picture perfect ending in life. Sudden accidents, strokes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease are some of the leading causes of death in America. Unfortunately, most of these illnesses strike without warning — which means you don’t have the ability to plan ahead and make a will.

Passing away without a will causes families an incredible amount of stress. But you can save your family from this burden by creating a will early and dictating where you’d like your belongings to go. Here’s what you should know about the process, and what could happen without a will.


Why You Should Write A Will

Regardless of your age, you might be wondering why it would be beneficial to make a will. If you don’t plan on dying anytime soon, it can be easy to put off making arrangements for your estate.

But avoiding this important duty puts significant pressure on your family and loved ones. Whoever inherits your belongings will be tasked with dividing your prized possessions and property — if they decide to distribute your assets at all.



Now you might be thinking, surely your significant other, children, or other family members will divide your estate fairly. But no one can predict how an individual will act during their grieving period. Will your spouse be willing to distribute pieces that are considered family heirlooms? Will your descendants agree on who will take certain possessions?

Don’t let them suffer through the stress of figuring it out. Dictate who you want to receive certain possessions so that the legal system ensures that every individual receives their appropriate inheritance and no one needs to guess your wishes after death.


The Consequences of Passing Away Without A Will

Let’s be honest, passing away without a will can cause unnecessary tension among your loved ones. One of the final acts of love that you can show to your family and friends is ensuring you have a will in place to distribute your assets.

If an individual dies without a will, their estate is labeled as intestate. Therefore, the state of Arkansas has to follow the following succession:


  • Children
  • Surviving Spouse
  • Descendents (Parents, Siblings, etc.)


But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Couples without kids who have been married less than three years will split the inheritance 50/50 with the deceased’s family members. After three years of marriage, the spouse gets everything as long as they don’t have children.

When you have no will but have a spouse and children, your spouse will receive one-third of your estate and your children will receive the rest. This is very important to consider if you have a rocky relationship with your spouse or your children.



If your current standing spouse isn’t the biological parent of your children, a will can ensure that your children receive their inheritance. Without a will, your children will only receive a portion of your estate. Again, grief can change people, so you’ll never know how your spouse or children will react, which can cause unnecessary stress if you don’t have a will.


How To Secure A Will In Arkansas With Hickey & Hull

Consult with Hickey & Hull Law for estate planning to secure your loved ones in the event that you pass. Hickey & Hull can advise individuals on how to create a will and establish an executor of your estate. In addition, our attorneys can help your loved ones after death to ensure that everyone receives their designated inheritance.

Across the state of Arkansas, we have five offices available for clients: Fort Smith, Little Rock, Mena, Rogers, and Russellville. Contact our offices today or use our online chat to explore your options for estate planning.