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As any probate attorney in Michigan will explain, it is vital to memorialize your final wishes in writing. If you do not execute a will, the probate court will implement Michigan’s laws of intestacy to determine how and where your property is distributed. Intestacy is a one-size-fits-all estate plan that does not take into account personal relationships, preferences or the desire to leave money to a charity. To avoid intestacy, you should meet with a probate attorney in Michigan right away.

What is Intestacy?

Intestacy rules are found in Section 700.2101, et seq. of the Michigan Code. When a person dies without a will, the court must decide how to distribute property. Unbelievably, dying without a will is not as uncommon as many people think and a number of high-profile individuals have left enormous estates to the probate court to distribute. The order in which property is distributed is governed by intestate succession:

  • Spousal Share: There are generally six options the court uses to determine the spouse’s share in an intestate situation. If the couple does not have children and the decedent’s parents are not alive, the spouse inherits the entire estate. If the decedent had surviving children, parents or other descendants, the court will adjust the spousal share.
  • Share of Heirs: If the decedent died intestate without a spouse, surviving children inherit first, followed by the decedent’s parents. Grandparents, maternal relatives and paternal relatives follow, in that order.
  • No Taker: If there are no heirs or claims to the inheritance, the entire estate passes to the state of Michigan.

Avoid Intestacy Today

The only way to avoid intestate succession is to execute a valid will proclaiming your wishes and stating specifically how you want your property distributed upon your death. Michigan law does not permit the disinheritance of a spouse, but you are generally free to direct the distribution of your estate as you see fit. Make an appointment with one of the preeminent probate attorneys in Michigan by calling the Law Offices of Christopher Trainor & Associates today at (800) 961-8477.

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