Category Archives: All You Need To Know About Wills

Who Is In Charge Of My Will After I Die?

Michigan law sets up rules for distribution of your property if you die without a valid Will. These rules are called “intestate succession”.  The way your property is distributed under intestate succession depends on which of your relatives survive you and how large your estate is.  The process of overseeing the distribution of your property is administered through the probate court (generally called probate).  If you want a different distribution of your property from Michigan’s intestate succession distribution, you will need a Will.

 

By leaving a Will, you exercise your right under the law to determine who receives what share of your assets.  A will also allows you to name the person who will be in charge of administering your estate.  In Michigan this person is called the Personal Representative and is considered a fiduciary, i.e. one who serves in a position of trust.  Other names for a Personal Representative, used in the past or in other states include Executor or Executrix, and Administrator.  The Personal Representative must act in the best interest of the estate and is subject to the control of the Judge of Probate. A Personal Representative has no power to act until the death of the person who made the Will.

 

Anyone aged 18 or over who owns assets, e.g. a car, cash in a checking or savings account, or an interest in a home, should have a Will. Real property is land and everything that is permanently attached to it; personal property is everything else. If you own both, or either, you should have a Will. You may not think your estate is that big, but whatever its size you want it to be used in the best way possible to take care of your family and the people you care most about.

If you need help creating a Will contact Ambrose Law Group at (248) 624-5500
Samantha@ambroselawgroup.com
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The Probate Process

Probate Proceedings

The process of overseeing the distribution of your property is administered through the probate court (generally called probate).

 

Probate proceedings are generally public in nature. In most circumstances, anyone can examine the court file for a deceased person’s estate. The personal representative is given the discretion not to file the inventory of the estate with the court. Therefore, the value and nature of the estate may not be available to the general public.

Probate Proceedings For Estates Valued at $20,000 or Less

 

If the estate of a deceased person consists of property valued at $20,000 or less (in 2010), then a shortened probate procedure is available. The probate court issues an order that the property be turned over to the person who paid the funeral expenses, with any remaining amount going to the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, to the heirs. The probate court has a form for this procedure.

 

Probate Proceedings For Estates Valued at More Than $20,000

If the estate of a deceased person consists of property valued at more than $20,000, distribution of the estate is governed by the rules of either informal probate or formal probate administration.

  •  Informal Probate: The rules of informal probate eliminate the need for a petition or proceeding before the probate court for most of the steps in the probate process.

 

  •   Formal Probate: The rules of formal administration retain the supervision of the probate court over certain steps in the probate process. The law allows a probate estate to be closed after 5 months if all claims and other matters are resolved.

 

Probate Proceedings – Only Asset is Automobile

If the only asset or assets of the estate are an automobile or automobiles valued at $60,000 or less, then transfer of ownership to the spouse or next of kin can be accomplished through the Secretary of State and no probate proceedings are necessary.   

If you have questions about the probate process contact Samantha Moffett at (248) 624-5500

Ambrose Law Group

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What if I Die Without A Will?

Michigan law sets up rules for distribution of your property if you die without a valid will. These rules are called “intestate succession”.  The way your property is distributed under intestate succession depends on which of your relatives survive you and how large your estate is. The law calls your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. (by birth or adoption) your “descendants”. Your descendants’ portion of your estate is distributed by “representation”. This means the descendants’ portion is divided into shares equal to the number of your living children and your deceased children who left their own living children. Your surviving children each take one share.

 

The other shares are divided equally among your grandchildren whose parents are deceased. Grandchildren whose parent survived you do not take anything. If all your children die before you, the descendants’ portion of your estate is divided equally among all your surviving grandchildren.

 

Probate

The process of overseeing the distribution of your property is administered through the probate court (generally called probate).  Some kinds of property are distributed after your death with no reference to a will or intestate succession because probate is not required. Some examples follow.

 

ü  Life Insurance and Other Assets with a Designated Death

ü  Beneficiary

ü  Joint Property

ü  Trusts

 

If You Die Leaving a Surviving Spouse

In addition to his/her intestate share your spouse is entitled to certain allowances and exemptions that are adjusted every year for inflation.  This amount is taken before the intestate share (discussed below) is distributed.

 

If You Die Without a Surviving Spouse

§  If you have surviving descendants they take your entire estate by representation.

§  If you have surviving parents but no surviving descendants, your parents take your entire estate in equal shares.

§  If you have no surviving parents or descendants your brothers and sisters take your entire estate in equal shares.

§  Children of deceased brothers or sisters (your nieces and nephews) take by representation.

§  If you have no surviving parents, descendants, brothers and sisters, or nieces and nephews your estate goes to your grandparents or if they are deceased to descendants of your grandparents.

§  If you die leaving none of the relatives discussed above your entire estate goes to the state of Michigan.


If you want a different distribution of your property from Michigan’s intestate succession distribution, you will need a will.  Contact Samantha Moffett at (248) 624-5500

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