Making sure your will is valid is ideal for several reasons. For one, you want to have confidence that your will to hold up in Michigan probate court so that you know your wishes are set in stone. Secondly, an ironclad will prevents the likelihood of one of your beneficiaries filing a will contest after you pass away.
There are two main goals when creating a will: meeting the legal requirements and going above and beyond to avoid probate litigation.
Age and mental capacity
The first requirement is that you must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, Michigan laws require that you have “sufficient mental capacity” when creating and signing the document. This means you must know what it means to create a will, including knowing your property, knowing who your close relatives are and the effects of signing the document.
Signing and witnesses
Proper execution of your will requires you to sign it or direct someone else to sign it in your presence. You must also have two witnesses sign the document within a reasonable time.
Although not a requirement of the law, you may wish to make a will that is self-proving. This means you and your witnesses sign statements in front of a notary public who then issues a certificate. Self-proving your will may expedite the probate process and reduce the chances of a will contest.
Preventing a will contest
Along with adhering to the law, you may want to take additional steps to make sure everyone has confidence in your will. This may include keeping heirs out of the drafting and signing process, video recording the signing and explaining your decisions to your beneficiaries.
This information is not legal advice – it is for educational purposes only.