Resources & FAQ's


Colleen M. Cullitan
Joseph R. Enslen
Thomas F. Waggoner

What happens if I die without a will?

When a person dies his or her property becomes part of their “estate” and if a person dies without a will, he or she is said to die “intestate,” which literally means “to die without a will.”  Any part of a decedent’s estate not effectively disposed of by will, passes by intestate succession to the decedent’s heirs as prescribed by State law.

Michigan’s law of intestate succession attempts to reflect what most people would want most of the time if they paused long enough to think about questions such as “How do I want my worldly possessions distributed after I die,” or “Who will become the guardian of my minor children in the event of my death.”  It is permissible to think of the Michigan law as creating a default estate plan for each person who dies without having made his or her own estate plan.

Estate planning, including the drafting of wills and trusts, is the process whereby YOU develop and implement your own estate plan to reflect how YOU want your personal and financial affairs handled so that the courts do not decide these issues for you.