Probate Without a Will

If you pass away without a will, the state defines it as “dying intestate.” The state will then follow its laws for intestate succession to distribute assets to your surviving family members after paying any remaining taxes or debts owed at the time of your passing.

You can avoid your family having to go through probate without a will with the appropriate estate planning documents. Contact us at Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC, for help with your estate planning in Ann Arbor, MI.

How Does Michigan State Law Handle an Intestate Estate?

A surviving family member must file the appropriate probate documents to notify the court that their loved one passed away without a will. The court will analyze the decedent’s assets and determine how to use their value to repay the decedent’s debts, taxes, and final expenses.

Some assets may not be eligible for probate, including:

  • Jointly owned real estate or other property
  • Retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Living trusts

In instances of a life insurance policy, retirement account, or trust, the decedent named beneficiaries to receive the assets upon their death. These beneficiaries will receive those assets without passing through probate first.

In the case of jointly held property, if one or more other people or trusts share ownership of the property, the surviving parties can submit a copy of the death certificate to the bank or the Secretary of State’s office to have the decedent’s name removed from the title.

Intestate Succession in Michigan

Once the decedent’s assets pass through intestate probate without a will, the court-appointed personal representative for the estate will distribute assets according to Michigan’s intestate succession order.

If the decedent has a surviving spouse and children only with that spouse, the spouse receives the first $150,000 of the estate. The spouse then receives half of the remaining inheritance, while the final amount divides equally between the decedent’s children and spouse.

If the decedent had no children with their current spouse but had children from a previous relationship, the spouse would receive $100,000 and half of the remainder, while the child or children would receive the remaining estate after the spouse’s share.

If the decedent had no surviving spouse, parents, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews, siblings, or cousins, the state would assume the intestate estate for its coffers.

Exemptions From Intestate Probate

You might be able to file for a small estate probation exemption if your loved one passed away without a will and with very few assets. If a loved one’s estate value is $25,000 or less, you may be able to use a simplified probate process, including:

  • Transfer by affidavit
  • Transferring a vehicle title
  • Collecting personal property
  • Collecting paychecks due from an employer
  • Assignment of property

Contact Us Today for Help with Estate Planning in Ann Arbor, MI

Whether you know someone who passed away without a will or you want to begin estate planning to prevent your family from going through probate without a will, contact us at Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC. Call us today at 734-930-9200 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney in Ann Arbor, MI.


Get to know us better by scheduling an initial consultation where we can discuss your needs.

Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942

Petoskey Office
By Appointment only
3319 Lakeside Dr S
Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone: 231-427-2292

Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942