Michigan Intestate Succession

Michigan Intestate Succession

Intestate succession is the legal process of distributing a deceased person’s assets when they die without a will or trust. In Michigan, numerous statutes dictate how estates are divided among heirs. Courts follow laws outlined in the Michigan Compiled Laws. These laws dictate the hierarchy of heirs and the manner in which assets are divided. Simply put, Michigan law determines which relatives receive property and assets and the manner or percentage each receives. In other words, when a person passes away without a will or trust, the courts dictate how an estate is distributed.

Michigan Succession Order

Michigan intestate succession laws establish a hierarchy of heirs. In other words, there is an inheritance order based on several factors. One factor is marriage and the other is biological relationships. The distribution of assets depends on whether the deceased was married, had children, parents, siblings, or other relatives. If the deceased was married and had no children, the spouse inherits everything. If the deceased had no living spouse and had children, the children inherit the entire estate. When there is a living spouse and children the estate is divided between them. Sometimes this causes emotional turmoil. If there is no spouse or children then the assets are distributed in the following order: parents, siblings, nieces/nephews. If there are no surviving parents, siblings, nieces, or nephews, then more distant relatives inherit the estate. Each scenario is unique and may require legal assistance. So, contact an experienced probate attorney to guide you through this process.

Assets Subject to Intestate Succession

When a Michigan resident passes away without a will or trust in place, any asset without a designated beneficiary or joint tenancy may be subject to intestate succession in probate court. For example, solely owned real estate, bank accounts, personal property, investments, or any assets that lack a designated beneficiary or co-owner may be distributed according to Michigan intestate succession laws. Therefore, it remains vital to put beneficiaries on all accounts and property.

Assets NOT Subject to Intestate Succession

Assets that avoid intestate succession include any held in joint tenancy. Also, assets with transfer-on-death (TOD) or payable-on-death (POD) designations are excluded from intestate succession. In the same manner, any asset, or account with a beneficiary will not go through probate court. Additionally, any property you own jointly will pass to the other owner when you are deceased. Basically, your named heir simply needs your death certificate to inherit any shared asset or co-owned property.

Blended Families and Intestate Succession

Sometimes parents have biological children and children from previous marriages. When a child from a previous marriage is adopted by the new parent the child has the same inheritance rights as the biological child. However, even when the child is raised by both parents, if one is not the biological parent, Michigan’s intestate succession laws treat the non-biological child differently. As a result, it remains vital to contact an attorney and set in place a solid will and trust. This protects the entire family and prevents emotional distress when a parent may pass away without a proper estate plan.

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