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Can I contest a will in Michigan?

Hubbard Snitchler & Parzianello

You knew your dad loved your little sister more than he loved you. He denied it whenever you asked him, but his actions spoke louder than his words. Now that he has died, it is clear for all to see — he has left the house to your little sister, and all you get is his clapped-out car and the dog.

Unfortunately, however unfair this may seem, you are unlikely to be able to contest his will. Fair does not enter into the equation when considering the legality of a will. People have the right to distribute their estate as they wish, and their will is taken as proof of their wishes. It is exceedingly rare that a court will overturn one, and there would need to be exceptional circumstances for them to do so. These are some of the grounds on which you may contest a will:

  • The will signing was not appropriately done: Wills need to be witnessed by two people under Michigan law.
  • The will-maker did not have testamentary capacity: You can challenge the will if the person signing the will was under 18 years old at the time. Or if they had dementia, senility or insanity, preventing them from understanding the consequences of their decision.
  • The will was signed under duress: You would need to prove your sister manipulated your father into signing the house to her.
  • The will is fraudulent: Your sister told your father the document she gave him to sign was something else, and he did not realize it was his will.
  • The will is a forgery: Your sister made it and signed it herself.
  • The will is outdated: If your dad signed another will after the one presented, the most recent one should hold sway.

If you wish to contest a Michigan will, a Detroit estate planning attorney can help you understand your options.

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