What family members are entitled to estate assets if there is no Will?

My grandmother purchased about 6 different pieces of land before she met my grandfather in the 1950’s. Her husband already had 4 children before they got married. My grnadparents then had 4 more children together. One of my cousins has been threatening my mother, saying he’s going to take a piece of land purcahsed by my grandmother in the 50’s. The land has valued considerably. If there’s no Will, does property automatically “default” to my mother, the only biological child of my grandmother? The mother of my cousin was a stepchild to my grandmother. How can we get this matter resolved?

Asked on July 24, 2014 under Estate Planning, Arkansas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the problems that have arisen. Did your grandmother legally adopt the children from your Grandfather?  If not then they would not inherit from her estate under the intestacy law in Arkansas.  The four children - or the descendants of the four children if one or more of the children died before your Grandmother - will inherit. So if this cousin is a child of your Mother's blood sibling they will inherit a portion of the estate (and the property in question) but not all of it. Your Mother also inherits a portion. Please seek legal help.  Good luck.

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