COA Harmonizes Intestacy Laws Involving Non-Resident Decedent

By Doug Chalgian on September 18, 2021

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This new published case is about calculating the spousal intestate share in a case where the decedent was not a Michigan resident, but where an estate is opened in Michigan, but not opened in the state where the decedent was residing when he died.

Eldridge Huntington Sr. dies a resident of California, leaving no will, property in two states, a spouse, and children who are not related to his surviving spouse.

Surviving spouse opens a probate estate in Michigan where decedent owned a condo.  Spouse has herself appointed Personal Representative, and seeks to distribute the condo to herself as her intestate share.  Child of Decedent (“Junior”) says: Not so fast, we don’t even know what property is in California or what it is worth.  Trial Court buys into Junior’s argument and removes Surviving Spouse as PR and appoints Junior in her place.

Spouse petitions to say that what may or may not be in California is irrelevant to what she gets under Michigan law.  Junior says she’s playing a shell game. (And yet no one bothers to open an estate in California.)

Judge sides with Junior again, but for reasons that leave the record confused. The COA walks through the laws and finds that they invite clarification, hence this case being published.  In the end the COA concludes that Surviving Spouse can take an intestate share of the Michigan property using Michigan intestacy laws where there is no estate opened in California, but that the PR has the authority and duty to figure out what is in California in order to properly calculate what that intestate share is worth.

To read In Re Estate of Eldridge Dean Huntington, click here.

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mm By: Doug Chalgian
Doug Chalgian

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