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Intestate Succession

Intestate succession

The Default Rules of Asset Distribution Upon Death

Estate planning is one of the most important arrangements you can make for your family and loved ones. Unfortunately, many citizens of Michigan pass away each year without a finalized plan. In these cases, the rules of intestate succession created by Michigan statute may apply.

Intestate succession is a series of rules that dictate how your probate assets are transferred upon your death to your next-of-kin. In many ways, it is as if your final will and testament were set up by the state of Michigan.

While simple at first glance, intestate succession seldom comes to pass in the way that a family might imagine or desire. The rules often fail to take into account blended families, estrangement, or remarriage. The overarching rules that comprise Michigan’s intestate succession can best be summarized depending on the known surviving family.  Some of the possible family situations and resulting determination of next-of-kin are described below:

If you don’t have any living children at the time of your passing, then your legal spouse will receive the first portion of your estate. The final amount of your spouse’s portion changes annually depending on cost-of-living adjustments as determined by the Department of Treasury. Your spouse will receive a fixed amount, as well as 3/4 of the balance of your probate estate.  Any living parent, or parents, will receive the remaining balance.  See MCL 700.2102.

If you have no surviving spouse our children, the entire balance of your probate estate will pass to your parents, if living, otherwise to your siblings by representation.  See MCL 700.2103.

If you have a living spouse and some of your and your spouse’s children or descendants (such as grandchildren) are shared, at the time of your passing your spouse will receive the first portion of your estate. The final amount of your spouse’s portion changes annually depending on cost-of-living adjustments as determined by the Department of Treasury. Your spouse will receive a fixed amount, as well as 1/2 of the balance. Your descendants will receive the remaining portions. See MCL 700.2102.

When you pass, if you and your spouse share no offspring, but you yourself have living descendants, then your spouse will receive the first portion of your estate. The final amount of your spouse’s portion changes annually depending on cost-of-living adjustments as determined by the Department of Treasury. Your spouse will receive a fixed amount, along with 1/2 the balance. Anything remaining will be distributed to your descendants.

If you pass before your spouse, and you have neither living parents nor descendants, your spouse will receive your entire estate.

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Plan for the Future of Your Estate

Intestate succession doesn’t create a happy outcome for every family. Thankfully, there are steps you can take today to ensure that your estate ends up with your loved ones the way you desire. Revocable trusts and Lady Bird deeds are just some of the tools at your disposal to prepare your estate for the future.

When you’re ready to take control of your wealth, trust in La Grasso, Adbo, & Silveri PLLC, for all of your estate planning needs. Our team is ready to help you build and protect an estate that will benefit generations to come.