Summerville, SC asked in Probate for Michigan

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.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
John Joseph Rizzo III
John Joseph Rizzo III
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Traverse City, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: 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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.