Like other states, Michigan has laws in place that determine what will happen to a person’s property if she dies without a will. The same laws also apply if a will turns out to be invalidated or if the will does not apply to all of the person’s probate estate.
These laws do not cover situations in which a person has made other legal arrangements to transfer property, for example, by a trust or a deed granting survivorship rights.
The law favors a person’s surviving spouse
A deceased person’s surviving spouse will benefit if a person has no will. If the deceased left no behind no child or parent, the spouse will receive all of the person’s probate property. Otherwise, the surviving spouse will ordinarily receive the first $150,000 plus half of the estate.
If the surviving spouse had no children with the deceased, he receives the first $100,000 of the estate. If it happens that a person dies with a spouse but no children, the spouse receives $150,000 and 75% of the balance.
When making estate plans, a resident of the Detroit area will want to consider carefully whether she would be comfortable leaving everything to her spouse.
On the other hand, she may actually want to be sure her spouse receives all of her property on the assumption that her spouse would eventually share it with or pass it on to the children.
In short if a person wants to do anything other than what the Michigan law sets out, he will need to write a will or set up a strategy to avoid probate altogether.