Taylor, MI asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan

Q: Am I correct that assets that name beneficiaries" DO NOT" pass through probate?

If I am correct how does a beneficiary uncover what happened to the assets that they were named as beneficiary on? For example abuse of process, forgery, elder abuse, etc. Also, the entity holding the assets what duty did they have to notify each beneficiary?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: The short answer to your direct question is 'yes'. Property with named beneficiaries does not pass through probate and is instead transferred directly to the beneficiary with the provisions in place by the asset holder (usually a request and a certified copy of the death certificate) to get that asset transferred into the beneficiary's name.

Your question emphasizes how important it is to communicate your wishes to those you are leaving property to. There is no 'system' in place to notify people they are named as beneficiaries and it is up to the beneficiary to contact the asset holder (bank, insurance company, brokerage firm, etc.)

If you are named as a beneficiary the burden is on YOU to contact the asset holder.

If you believe a crime such as forgery etc has occurred, it is similarly up to YOU to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency with PROOF (NOT just speculation!) of the mis-deeds to insure things are resolved properly.

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

Brent T. Geers agrees with this answer

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