When an individual dies, his assets and property usually pass to his heirs according to instructions he left behind in his will. However, if the individual didn't sign a will before he died, or if his will is invalid, the court will distribute his property according to inheritance laws published by the state.
When an individual dies without a will in Michigan, the court must establish a probate estate to determine who will oversee the individual's final affairs and who will receive the property the deceased person left behind. The court will establish a probate estate after the deceased person's family informs it that the individual died without a will. After the estate is established, the court will name an individual to act as the estate's representative.
Death With Surviving Spouse
If you die without a will and leave behind a surviving spouse, the first $150,000 and half of the remainder of your estate will pass to your spouse. The other half of the remainder of your estate passes to your children. However, if you are survived by children who aren't also the children of your surviving spouse, only the first $100,000 and half the remaining balance of your estate will pass to your spouse. If you have no surviving children, then $150,000 and three quarters of the balance of your estate passes to your spouse, and the remainder passes to your parents. If you have no surviving children or parents, 100 percent of your estate passes to your surviving spouse.
Death Without Surviving Spouse
If you die without a surviving spouse, your entire estate passes to your children or their descendants. If you have no living children or descendants of children, your estate passes to your parents. If you don't have living parents, then your estate passes to your siblings or their descendants. If you have no living children, parents, siblings or descendants of children or siblings, then half of your estate passes to your paternal grandparents or their descendants and the other half passes to your maternal grandparents or their descendants.
If you die without a will and you have no surviving relatives, 100 percent of your estate passes to the state of Michigan. Only property contained in the probated estate passes to heirs based on inheritance laws. Property you owned jointly with another individual passes to that individual when you die, and property held in a trust passes to the trust's beneficiaries.
- Accettura and Hurwitz: What Happens if I Die Without a Will?
- Wayne County Probate Court: Michigan Intestate Succession
- HG.org Legal Resources. "What Are the Laws of Intestacy?" Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.
- Wisconsin State Legislature. "Chapter 852 Intestate Succession." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.
- Duhaime's Law Dictionary. "Per Stirpes Definition." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.
- Sterling Law Offices. "What Is Survivorship Marital Property?" Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.
- IRS. "Estate Tax." Accessed Oct. 7, 2020.
Amanda McMullen is a freelancer who has been writing professionally since 2010. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics and a second bachelor's degree in integrated mathematics education.