The Michigan Legislature recently enacted a new law, which takes effect on October 1, 2012 which prevents a convicted abuser or exploiter from inheriting from the person they were convicted of harming. The act prohibits any inheritance to a person convicted of “abuse, neglect or exploitation,” which includes:

  • Child abuse
  • Abuse of a vulnerable adult
  • Financial fraud or misrepresentation against a vulnerable adult
  • Domestic violence

If convicted, the felon:

  • loses any rights to property he owns jointly with his victim
  • cannot act under any power of attorney in which he is named as an agent for the victim
  • cannot be the personal representative of the probate estate
  • cannot inherit any of the victim’s assets.

If the victim still wants the felon to inherit property or act under a power of attorney, then the victim must sign new documents AFTER the date of the conviction clearly expressing this intent.

Heirs need to act quickly, after the death of a loved one to notify third parties who are holding assets. If a third party pays assets to a beneficiary and THEN finds out that the beneficiary should have been disinherited as a convicted abuser, the third party is not obligated to make a second payment. The only recourse is for the family to try to collect the funds from the convicted abuser, who may have already spent those funds. The written notice to the party holding assets must include very specific information required by law in order to stop a payment from being made to an abuser.

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