Any interested person in an estate can challenge a Will. The interested person is, generally speaking, an heir or a creditor.
There are several different ways in which you can challenge a Will. If a Will has not been properly executed in accordance with the law, you can challenge a Will for that reason. In Michigan, a Will has to be executed in writing, dated and signed by the person making the Will, and witnessed by at least two uninterested individuals. If any of those requirements are not met, that provides the reason to start challenging it for lack of due execution. However, in Michigan, not only is there a section of the law that addresses the proper execution of a Will, there is also a section which deals with whether a Will can be admitted even though it hasn’t been executed in accordance with the technical requirements.
In Michigan, there are several ways by which a Will can be admitted, even though it might not be executed in accordance with the legal requirements of the law. Lack of testamentary capacity is one of the most common reasons that a Will is challenged, and that means that the person making the Will was not legally competent to execute the Will. It can mean that they did not know what they were doing, or that they were acting under undue influence. Undue influence can be shown when a person is executing a Will not under their own free will, but under the direction of another person. In Michigan, undue influence is presumed when the person making the Will is doing so in favor of their current caregiver. A parent living with one child and leaving everything to that one child while disinheriting all of the other children, would be a good example of undue influence.
A sometimes seen, but not very often used, reason for challenging a Will is fraud and forgery. That would be where someone has, or is seeking to, admit a Will into probate when it wasn’t really signed by the testator.
Any person who is interested in the estate of the deceased person can challenge a Will. That would be any person who is an heir of the deceased person, any person who is named in the Will, or any person who has been promised something from the estate of the deceased person. Also, a Will could be challenged by the creditor of an estate, although typically you don’t see that because they are just owed money and as long as they are not disclaimed by the estate or that debt isn’t challenged, then you are not going to see a challenge by a creditor.
The Wills Act of 1837 is a law that was adopted in Great Britain in that year. It’s generally thought of as being the grandfather of all requirements for the validity of a Will. In that act, Great Britain said that in order for a Will to be admitted, it’s got to be in writing, signed by the testator, and attested to by witnesses. It was the first law that imposed any technical requirements for the admission of a Will.
For more information on Contesting Or Challenging A Will In Michigan, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 869-0030 today.