The Elrod Firm


What If It’s Just Us?

Lindsey, my wife and I don’t have any children? Who will receive our assets once we are gone? – Jared

Jared, if you have a plan, the answer to that question is completely up to you! You and your wife can tailor-make your plan to benefit family members, friends, or charities.  You can even set up a sub-trust called a pet trust to help take care of any pets you may leave behind.  The sky really is the limit.

If you don’t have a plan, Arkansas law, crafted by your legislators, will determine your beneficiaries.  The first transfer of assets will occur when the first spouse passes away.  If we presume that you and your wife either own all assets jointly or have named each other as beneficiary of any individual assets or accounts, then the surviving spouse will become the sole owner when the first spouse passes away. 

The surviving spouse then has an option.  Does he or she create a plan and pick his or her beneficiaries? Or, does he or she continue with no plan? If a plan is still not created, we refer to the Arkansas Table of Descents. This list determines which relatives of the surviving spouse will inherit. It is important to note that only family members of the surviving spouse will inherit.  The deceased spouse’s family will receive nothing. 

The order of family members that will inherit is as follows:

  1. The surviving spouse’s children or their descendants;
  2. If none, the surviving spouse’s parents;
  3. If none, the surviving spouse’s siblings or their descendants;
  4. If none, the surviving spouse’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, or their descendants;
  5. If none, the surviving spouse’s great-grandparents, great-aunts, great-uncles, or their descendants;
  6. Finally, if none of the above family members can be located or are living, the estate will escheat to the county where the surviving spouse resided at death.

As you can see, Arkansas law does provide for the contingency of not having a plan, but wouldn’t you rather choose who you benefit? Call today to schedule your free strategy session, and the Elrod Firm will put your plan in action!

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