Who inherits my property if I die without a will or estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Dying intestate, referring to the absence of a will, generally means your spouse or an asset’s co-owner inherits your property. Your parents or your siblings may also stand to inherit portions of your assets. 

As noted by the Michigan Legislature, if you die intestate and have no surviving spouse or children, your parents or siblings are next in line. If you intend otherwise, you may need to create a will or trust for your property to distribute according to your wishes. 

Who may I include as a beneficiary in my estate plan?

If you have children from a prior relationship and you die intestate, they may not inherit your property because your current spouse takes priority. By creating a will, however, you may designate specific individuals or organizations as your beneficiaries. 

As noted by the ACTEC Foundation, leaving assets to a minor child may require creating a trust and naming a trustee to manage the assets on his or her behalf. A trustee may, for example, rent out a property included in your trust and then distribute the generated funds according to your instructions. 

How may I prevent my spouse from controlling my assets?

Assets co-owned by your spouse may not transfer to anyone else as long as your spouse remains alive. You may need to first negotiate a buyout or find another method to take ownership of a property and then include it in a will or trust. 

As described by Bankrate, you may name a beneficiary to receive any remaining cash or stocks in a financial account. Called a P.O.D., or “payable-on-death” account, the balance or financial assets may bypass probate and transfer directly to your chosen beneficiary upon your death.