I live in Springdale, AR, and my husband has recently passed away. He had a will drawn up before we were married. His daughter is the executor. Do I have any rights as his wife? She is trying to take a car from me that was purchased by my husband right before his death. Do I have a right to this vehicle even though the will says automobiles are included? He didn’t have this vehicle when the will was signed.
In Arkansas, a will is valid if it is signed in front of two disinterested witnesses. A surviving spouse has rights only if the property was jointly owned, was titled giving the spouse the right of survivorship, or if the will stated the property was to go to the surviving spouse. A will does not generally itemize personal property, which includes vehicles.
If you have a valid will, the Courts will use the Probate process to transfer your property according to directions you stated in your will. In Arkansas, anyone 18 years of age or older can make a will but to be valid it must be signed in front of two disinterested witnesses. At our firm, we actually use three witnesses and a notary. Some states require three witnesses and by adding that extra witness, our documents are valid in all states. In addition, a notary is used because our documents include an affidavit, which means that when the will is produced after death, Arkansas courts will waive the requirement to have the witnesses sign another document stating that they did, in fact, witness the original will.