You may assume that if you die without a will, your assets automatically go to your spouse and children. While there is some truth to this, Michigan has very specific rules for the distribution of your estate to your heirs, as well as definitions of who your heirs are. We at the Bingham Legal Group PC often provide legal information about state laws and inheritances.

According to accessKent, current state law dictates that your surviving spouse inherits the first $150,000 of the estate under certain circumstances. If you do not have children together, after that first allotment, your spouse receives three-fourths of the balance and your parent receives the rest. If you do have children together, half of the balance would be distributed among them, and your spouse would receive the other half. If you have children that are not your spouse’s, he or she would take the first $100,000 and half of the balance, and the rest would be divided among your children.

If you are not married or you outlive your spouse, your direct descendants are your heirs. This includes adopted children, but not stepchildren or foster children. If you have deceased children, their children may receive a portion of the inheritance. For example, a living son and a deceased daughter would each get half of the estate, but the daughter’s portion would be divided equally among her children.

Without a surviving spouse and children, your parents would become your heirs. If they are not living, your parents’ descendants inherit your estate, including your aunts, uncles and cousins, in the same way that your assets would be divided among your own children and their children. When you do not have any living heirs, the state keeps your property. More information about inheritance distribution is available on our webpage.