Q: My father died in 2009 and stepmom 2018. Stepmom had no kids. With no will, who's in line for estate in Michigan?
They were married 38 years when my father died. They had a trust(apparently) with friend named to make decisions on finances but he is not being cooperative or transparent and dragging his feet about getting us a copy of trust. We live in South Carolina and logistics are difficult. We're doubting the legality of trust and want to know what laws say about dispersal of estate.
Absent a different provision in the estate plan, your stepmom would have received $150,000, plus 1/2 any balance of your father's estate upon his death. Because she had no will, her default beneficiaries in Michigan would be, in the following order, (1) stepmom's parents, (2) stepmom's siblings, (3) stepmom's nieces and nephews, etc. Depending on the size of the estate, and the trust, there is a chance you would not receive a share of the estate.
The trust is the most important factor. You need to know what it says and what assets are in the trust's name. You are entitled to receive this information if you are a beneficiary of the trust.
If there are enough assets, you can begin a trust contest in probate court. If the trust was invalid, and the current beneficiaries would receive nothing if the trust was thrown out, both sides would have a strong incentive to settle the case before trial.
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