How much is a spouse entitled to if there is no will?

| Oct 30, 2015 | Wills |

Many Michigan residents understand the importance of having a will. A will can help people allocate their personal property and distribute assets once they have passed away. With the will, people can sometimes ensure that their family members are taken care of long after they are gone.

However, there are circumstances in which a person dies without having a will in place. In these situations, people may wonder how a person’s family members are taken care of following the person’s death. Specifically, people may wonder if their spouses will be entitled to a portion of their estate if they die without a will.

Under Michigan intestacy laws, a spouse is entitled to a portion of a person’s estate even if there is no will. Specifically, under section 700.2102 of the Michigan Probate Code, a spouse is entitled to the person’s entire estate if the decedent had no descendants or living parents. This means that if a person dies without parents or children, the person’s spouse is entitled to everything that person owned, subject to creditors of the estate.

If, however, a person does have other immediate family members that survive the decedent, then the person’s spouse is not entitled to the entire estate. Then, the amount the spouse is entitled to depends on the surviving family members. The spouse is entitled to the first $150,000 plus a half of any of the remaining value of the estate if one or more of the surviving descendants is also a descendant of the surviving spouse.

If the decedent’s only surviving immediate family other than the spouse are the person’s parents, then the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $150,000 plus 75 percent of the remaining value of the estate. The surviving spouse, however, is only entitled to the first $100,000 plus 50 percent of the balance of the remaining estate if the decedent’s descendants are not also descendants of the surviving spouse.

As people can see from this blog post, intestacy laws in Michigan are complicated. People should not rely on this post for specific legal advice, but should consider contacting an attorney if they have questions related to estate planning.