When any person having any title to any personal property dies without disposing of such personal property by will, it shall be succeeded to and must be distributed, subject to the payment of debts, in the following manner:
(a) Subject to dower, the children of the intestate and such persons as legally represent such children as may be deceased shall share equally in the personal property.
(b) If there is no surviving spouse, the personal property shall be distributed equally among all the children and such persons as legally represent such children as may be deceased.
(c) If there are no children and no legal representative of a deceased child or children, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to all of the personal property.
(d) If there is no surviving spouse and no children and no legal representatives of a deceased child or children, the personal property shall be distributed among the next of kin of the intestate.History: 1962, PL 7-21; readopted 1980, PL 16-88 § 1; 1982, PL 17-31 § 1.
Process of defining the term “next of kin” within the meaning of inheritance statute can be restated as an inquiry into whether the Legislature intended to adopt the “civil law rule” according to which kinship is determined by a series of steps up and down the genealogical ladder and a person is one step away from his parents and two steps away from his siblings, or the competing “common law rule” according to which a person is related to both his siblings and his parents in the first degree. A.S.C.A. § 40.0201. In re Estate of Ah Mai (Mem.), 14 A.S.R.2d 32 (1990).