Do you have a will? If you do, this document will be used during probate to follow your wishes and ensure your assets are transferred as you intended. Without a will, however, the state still needs a way to determine who receives your property.
The word intestate is used to describe a person who passes away without a valid will. When a person passes away intestate, their state’s probate courts will determine how the assets will be distributed. Intestate estates can also occur because someone’s existing will was determined to be invalid and no other will is present. Courts typically establish very specific rules about how these assets will be distributed usually beginning with spouses and other close relatives.
Many people pass away without preparing a will. One 2021 Gallup study showed that only 46% of Americans aged 18 or above had a will. This leaves the determination of your asset distribution up to the courts even if you had made specific promises or claims to your loved ones about what you wanted to happen.
Working with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer is one of the only ways to avoid dying intestate. If you have specific concerns about the assets you’ll pass on to your loved ones, it is best to discuss this with an experienced and qualified attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you to gather the necessary resources and help you move forward with your next steps.
If you want a plan for your Michigan estate and don’t want state rules applied to the distribution of your property, it’s best to engage an attorney as soon as possible.