How can intestacy complicate things for your loved ones?

Like some Detroit residents, you might have decided you do not need a will. You might trust your descendants to work things out maturely amongst themselves, or perhaps you do not believe your estate is large enough to require any estate planning. For whatever reason, it might not seem like a pressing emergency to get your affairs in order before you pass on. It is certainly within your rights to refrain from any type of estate planning. However, you may first want to consider what might happen if you die without a will in place.

Passing on without leaving a will is known as intestacy. According to the Michigan Legislature, the court will decide what happens to estate property that is intestate. Will your loved ones be eligible to receive the assets you leave behind? Yes, but they may be divided in a way that you might not have agreed upon.

For example, your closest relatives are first entitled to your estate upon your death. This usually means your spouse and children. However, what happens if you are estranged from your spouse, you want more of your estate to go to a child who is less financially well off than the others or you have stepchildren you would like to include? What if you would like a portion of your assets to go to your parents, siblings, your best friend or a charitable organization? Some of these people would most likely be left out completely if you do not plan for them.

If your property is intestate when you die, there is a chance your descendants may disagree over what the court has decided and fight over the assets. To avoid confusion and family contention, as well as ensure your final wishes are respected, it may be wise to have a will or trust drawn up. Even a simple will is better than nothing. This information, however, should not be considered legal advice.