While many people fail to update their estate plans or even have an estate plan, they often don’t know what this means for their assets.

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In Michigan, if a person dies intestate (without an estate plan), then their estate passes according to the law. The law says that if you are married at the time of death and don’t have living parents, children or grandchildren, your spouse receives your entire estate.

However, that is not always the case.

In other states, spouses are automatically entitled to your entire estate, should you die without a will or trust. That is not the case in Michigan.

If you have children or grandchildren, your spouse receives the first $150,000 (as may be adjusted for cost-of-living) of your assets and half of the rest of your estate. Your children get the rest.

If only a parent and spouse are still living, your spouse receives the first $150,000 and 3/4 of the balance. Your parents inherit the rest.

If you have children that survive, that are not your spouse’s, your spouse will receive the first $100,000 and 1/2 of the balance of the estate.

It is also important to understand how Michigan defines your children. Your children must be legally recognized by the state.

If you are unmarried and don’t have children at the time of your death, your parents will likely inherit your entire estate. If your parents are deceased, your siblings will inherit your estate.

What if you have no family? 

Then the state takes your assets into the state’s funds.

Also, not all assets pass through intestacy. Typically, only assets that you own alone are included. Life insurance policies, payable-upon-death bank accounts, jointly owned property, retirement accounts and others will not go through probate.

We always recommend that people consider their options. Even a small estate requires an estate plan if you want to avoid going through probate.

If you need help determining what type of estate planning documents are right for you, contact Rickard & Associates today.

Contact us today to help you get the right documents in place or to update your current estate plan. We will plan so that you don’t have to worry about your future.   

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