What Are the Rules of Inheritance in Michigan?

Several factors come into play in estate inheritance issues. These include the wishes a decedent expresses in a will, designated beneficiaries, state law, legal family relationships, and the executor’s discretion. Bloomfield Hills business and estate planning attorneys can provide more information on everything you need to know about inheritance laws in Michigan.

What Happens if I Die Without a Will in Michigan?

Dying without a will can create many problems for your heirs because it wouldn’t be clear who should inherit what. Family members and loved ones can be left with a financial burden or insecurity that turns their lives upside down.

Without a will, state law and probate court will take over the distribution of your estate. According to intestate succession law, your assets will be distributed to your legally recognized beneficiaries. You can avoid the complications of the probate process by working with skilled estate planning lawyers in Bloomfield Hills to help you create a Will.

Steps in Michigan Probate

The probate procedure is lengthy and requires the executor or personal representative to take the following steps:

  • Establish if a Will exists and locate it if it does
  • Find the persons who witnessed the Will
  • Attend court hearings and ruling on any disputes concerning the Will
  • Adjudicate the Will’s validity
  • Determine the rightful heirs if no Will exists
  • Identify all the assets and estate belonging to the deceased
  • Establish the value of the estate
  • Compile a list of outstanding debts and verify their legitimacy
  • Pay off estate debts and manage the estate during probate
  • Distribute the remaining property to the heirs

Does All Property Go Through Probate in Michigan?

If you die without a Will, most of your real estate, personal property, bank accounts, cash, and retirement accounts will be subject to probate. However, the following assets will be exempted from the probate process:

  • Assets you owned jointly with another person
  • Financial accounts or insurance policies with a named beneficiary, for example, payable-on-death investment accounts and insurance policies
  • Retirement plans payable to a named beneficiary
  • Car, boats, and trucks registered for transfer-on-death

Kendal Law Group, Estate planning attorneys in Bloomfield Hills can help you utilize various estate planning tools to protect your assets and loved ones’ future. You will be at peace knowing that the wealth you worked so hard to build won’t end up in the wrong hands when you’re gone.

Will My Spouse Be Entitled to My Entire Estate If I Die Without a Will?

Spouses aren’t automatically entitled to their late spouse’s estate if they die without a Will. However, your spouse typically will receive 100% of the estate if you die without parents or descendants. If you have a spouse and surviving parents, your spouse typically will receive the first $150,000 of the estate and 75% of the balance. The rest goes to your parents.

If you have a spouse and children and die without a Will, your spouse typically receives the first $150,000 of the estate and 50% of the remainder. The remaining 50% goes to the children with that spouse. If you die without a spouse, children, or parents and leave no will behind, your estate may be divided equally among any of your siblings.

Children’s Inheritance Rights in Michigan

How much your children get if you die without a Will depends on whether you have a spouse or other children from other relationships. For a child to have a claim on your estate, they must be legally recognized by the state through birth during the marriage or proof of paternity if born outside the marriage. Legal adoption papers can also be proof of the relationship.

If you leave no Will upon your death, your children will divide what remains after your spouse gets $150,000 plus 50% of the estate. If there is a deceased child, their share will go to their child if applicable.

Having an effective estate plan makes it easier to protect your children than dying without one.

Is There Inheritance Tax in Michigan?

Michigan doesn’t impose an inheritance tax, but it was applicable to people who inherited from a person who died on or before September 30, 1993. While your estate may not be subjected to inheritance or estate tax, it could be subjected to Federal Estate Tax.

Also known as Death Tax, Federal Estate tax applies to your right to transfer property at your death. However, the exemption increased to $12.92 million in 2023, meaning fewer people will be subject to this tax as only assets exceeding the exemption are required to file a federal estate tax return.

Beneficiaries of estates worth less than this exemption may still file the tax return to request portability, but it’s not a requirement. With proper estate planning, you can significantly reduce these taxes on your property with the help of our skilled business and estate planning lawyers in Bloomfield Hills.

Other Situations in Michigan Inheritance Law

Unique situations arise in Michigan inheritance law, such as the following:

  • Half-relatives can inherit the same share as whole relatives
  • The immigration status of an heir doesn’t matter in terms of their inheritance
  • An heir must outlive the decedent for at least 120 hours to inherit an estate, also known as the survivorship period

If you’re concerned about any inheritance matters not covered here, consult skilled estate planning attorneys in Bloomfield Hills. They can provide all the legal information you need concerning estate planning.

Professional Legal Guidance on Inheritance Laws in Michigan

Most people often postpone creating legal documents to outline what will happen to their property and estates once they die. While the topic is sensitive, it is better to have a plan in place to protect your loved ones rather than have them deal with the problems that arise when one dies intestate. If you would like legal help to put things in order, contact Kendal Law Group business and estate planning lawyers in Bloomfield Hills.

The legal team at Kendal Law Group PC can help you with your estate planning needs. We understand how the inheritance laws in Michigan work and can take you through everything you need to know. Call us at 248-609-1718 to schedule a FREE strategy session.