One of the many legal terms youre likely to come across as you plan your estate is heirs at law. Your heirs at law are not necessarily the people who will receive your property when you pass away. Instead, this term refers to the individuals who would stand to inherit from you if you passed away with no estate plan in place.
The exact identities of your heirs at law are determined by state intestacy statute, and the definition can vary from one state to another. In the state of Michigan, if you passed away without an estate plan, your property would likely go to your spouse and children, or less commonly, to your parents or siblings.
If you pass away with an estate plan, then your property goes to the people youve named as beneficiaries in your Will or Trust. If, on the other hand, you pass away without an estate plan, then your heirs at law must be determined.
If all of your property is located in your state of residence at the time of your death, then your heirs at law are defined by that states intestacy statutes. If you pass away owning out-of-state property, then you may very well end up with two or more different set of heirs at law. You would have one set of heirs at law who would inherit the property located in your home state, and your out-of-state property would be distributed to the heirs at law as determined by the intestacy statutes of each additional state in which you owned property.