What happens to property when someone dies without a Will?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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What happens to property when someone dies without a Will?

My wife and I bought property during our 36 years of marriage before she passed away. I found after she passed that 9 acres was inadvertently placed into her name only. In getting timber cleared, one of our kids is trying to claim 1/3 of the rights to it. Can they do this? No Will was left.

Asked on July 29, 2019 under Estate Planning, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

When there is no will, property owned solely by someone passes by "intestate succession": the rules for who gets what when there is no will. In your state (Arkansas), you get a life estate (right to use the land for life) in 1/3 the land; your children inherit the other 2/3 outright and get the 1/3 you had a life estate in when you pass away. If you don't have a use for that land, you may wish to let your child(ren) get the entire parcel now by "disclaiming" your interest.

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