What happens if you don’t have a Will? If you don’t have a Will, your final estate is subject to what is called administration. It is much like Probate only who gets how much has already been determined by state law.
Without a Will, the state, not you, decides who gets how much. When is decided by whether of not the family quarrels. But it will take at least 8 months to get done. And it will cost your family at least 6% of the estate to get it done.
Every step of the administration process will happen under the scrutiny of a Judge for correctness. A Judge must approve every decision. If even one family member objects, then the entire process could take years and lose the estate a lot of money.
First, your spouse only gets a portion of your estate. In Arkansas, your spouse gets 1/3rd of personal property, that is everything that isn’t real estate. You children split the other 2/3rds evenly between them. If they can’t agree on what property they will each take, then the court will order everything sold and the money split.
Your spouse gets an interest in the real estate called a fractional life estate. This means she can live there and collect rents and royalties for the remainder of life. However, your spouse can’t sell the property without your children’s permission. Then your spouse only gets part of the money from the sale. The children get the property as tenants in common after your spouse passes.
A Last Will and Testament is just one part of a complete estate plan.
What happens if you don’t have a Will?
- The government decides who gets what and how much
- The government decides who will be in charge
- You lose all control and your wishes aren’t carried out