What’s Required to Challenge a Will in Michigan?

If you’re thinking ahead about your estate planning and are concerned about the possibility of someone challenging your will and slowing down the administration of your estate, these are important considerations.

Most people who pass away in MI leave behind property to their friends, family and loved ones. There are many different opportunities available to people in Michigan to leave behind bequests. The most popular of these is through a last will and testament.

A will must be deposited within the probate court in Michigan county in which the decedent last resided. The will has to be admitted to probate court if there are probate assets before these assets pass on to beneficiaries. There are several different steps in the process of administering an estate in Michigan and a will contest can significantly impact this.

Family members and loved ones who are disappointed with the contents of a will might pursue a will contest. However, not all parties are eligible to do so and simply opening a will contest does not mean that it will be successful. In order to contest a will, the challenger must have what is known as standing. This means that only certain parties can challenge the will and the reason for contesting the will has to be recognized under Michigan law.

Those individuals who have standing to contest a will typically include heirs of the decedent, beneficiaries under a previous will, beneficiaries under the current will and any nominated fiduciaries of the trust or estate. Some of the most common reasons for contesting a will in Michigan include:

  • The will is not signed within the formal accordance of Michigan law.
  • The will is procured by misrepresentation or fraud.
  • The will was created due to undue influence by a third party.
  • The will’s testator did not have the necessary testamentary capacity to establish the will at the time that it was executed.
  • The creation of the will was a result of a mistake of fact.

In these circumstances, it can be helpful to engage the services of an estate planning lawyer to minimize the possibility of your will being contested in the future.


Gregory S. Schrot
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