Mother Hands Giving Money Saving To Child, Inheritance Concept

My Parent Remarried. Will the New Spouse Inherit Everything?

Bond Law Office  Aug. 21, 2023

Seeing your widowed or divorced parent find love again and marry their new partner can be both happy and anxiety-inducing. While you may be happy about their new relationship, you may also wonder whether the new spouse, half-siblings, or stepchildren will make you lose your potential inheritance. 

Essentially, your fear will be dependent on whether your newly remarried parent established a valid estate plan prior to their demise or died intestate. If you're concerned about being completely left out of your remarried parent's estate, consulting with an experienced Arkansas estate planning attorney is imperative. 

At Bond Law Office, we're committed to offering knowledgeable legal guidance and advocacy to clients in the legal matters of estate planning, probate, and estate administration. Our dedicated attorney can assess your unique situation and help you understand your inheritance rights when your remarried parent dies intestate. We proudly serve clients throughout Fayetteville, Van Buren, Fort Smith, Waldron, Mena, Clarksville, and the Arkansas River Valley, Arkansas. 

Dying Without a Will

When a person dies without a valid will or estate plan, it is known as "dying intestate." In Arkansas, the estate of a decedent who died intestate will be administered with the state's intestate succession laws. Thus, the decedent's estate will pass through the probate process before assets and property can be distributed to surviving loved ones. 

During the probate proceedings, the Arkansas court will choose an administrator to handle the probate process. The administrator will gather and evaluate the decedent's property and assets, pay taxes and debts, and transfer the remaining assets to rightful inheritors, according to Arkansas's intestate succession statutes. 

Arkansas Intestate Succession Law

Arkansas intestate succession law is used for estate administration when a person dies intestate—dying without a valid will or estate plan. In order to inherit under Arkansas intestate succession statute, a person must outlive the deceased person by five days. 

Assets Subject to Succession

Only the property and assets that the person would have included in their will are subject to intestate succession. So, to put it simply, if someone didn't write a will before they passed away, only the things they would have put in that will are divided up according to intestate succession laws. Anything else might not be included in this process.  

Examples that can be divided include: 

  • Homes and real property 

  • Motor vehicles 

  • Bank accounts 

  • Cash 

  • Artwork 

  • Businesses 

  • Royalties 

  • Jewelry 

  • Investments 

  • Money market accounts 

  • Memorabilia 

  • Savings 

  • Furniture pieces, and 

  • Other separate personal property 

In contrast, the following assets will not be affected by Arkansas intestate succession laws: 

  • Trust assets 

  • Retirement accounts 

  • Life insurance proceeds 

  • Property owned through joint tenancy 

  • Payable-on-death bank accounts 

A dependable Arkansas probate attorney can help identify assets and property that are subject to intestate succession and determine who will inherit what. 

Who Gets What

When a remarried person dies intestate in Arkansas—with a surviving spouse and children from another marriage or relationship—the following intestate succession statute will apply. Their surviving partner will inherit the following: 

  • One-third of the decedent's personal property. 

  • The right to use one-third of the decedent's real estate for life. 

The deceased person's surviving children and other descendants (including children from the previous and current relationship or marriage) will receive the remaining property outright. 

Children's Inheritance Rights in Arkansas

Furthermore, if a person dies without an estate plan in Arkansas, their children will receive an "intestate share" of the decedent's property. However, only legal children or children from a successful adoption will inherit under the intestacy law. Also, if the decedent has children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, they will inherit all of the deceased person's intestate property. 

Turn to Dependable Legal Assistance

When a divorced or widowed parent remarries but dies intestate, the children may be concerned about their inheritance. At Bond Law Office, we have the diligence and expertise to advise and guide clients in complex estate administration matters involving intestate succession. Using their extensive understanding of Arkansas's intestate succession statute, our trusted lawyer can determine what you're entitled to, advocate for your rights, and help recover your rightful inheritance. 

Contact us at Bond Law Office today to schedule an initial consultation with a seasoned probate attorney. We can offer you the highly-personalized legal counsel and dedicated advocacy you need in your estate settlement matters. Our firm is proud to serve clients throughout Fayetteville, Van Buren, Fort Smith, Waldron, Mena, Clarksville, and the Arkansas River Valley, Arkansas.