Most experts will advise any adult to create an estate plan. From the moment you come a legal adult, you will benefit from having someone empowered to make medical choices for you or pay your bills if you end up in a coma. Once you acquire valuable property or add dependents to your household, an estate plan becomes substantially more important.
It is very easy to put off planning because thinking about your death is particularly unpleasant. However, if you die without a will, it will be state statutes that determine who inherits your property if you don’t plan ahead.
What happened if you die without a will while living in Michigan?
Michigan has intestate succession laws
Lawmakers in Michigan have put specific statutes in place to handle the succession of personal property when someone dies without testamentary documents. If family members are unable to produce a will or similar paperwork after someone’s death, the Michigan probate courts will eventually handle the estate as though the testator passed away in testing or without documents describing their wishes.
Intestate succession laws focus primarily on the closest family members of the person who died. The spouse of the deceased has the strongest rights, although children also have inheritance rights under Michigan law. If the person who dies has neither a spouse nor children, then their parents or other family members may inherit their property.
Only in the rare situation where someone has no surviving family members and no testamentary documents will their assets eventually pass to the state of Michigan.
Estate planning protects you and your loved ones
While intestate succession laws at least ensure that those closest to you won’t end up deprived of your property when you die, they would likely benefit more from your creation of a thorough estate plan.
When you take the time to leave clear instructions about the division of your property and the care of your family members in a will or trust, you can ensure that those who depend on you will have the support they need you are no longer there to take care of them.
Learning more about how Michigan handles probate proceedings can help those thinking about the legacy they will leave when they die.