The process of contesting a Will is going to vary from state to state. In Michigan, the Will is usually sought to be admitted to the court by a family member or the personal representative who’s been named in the Will. Once proceedings have been started, all interested parties should receive a copy of the petition that seeks to admit the Will to the court. At that point, if you have objections, you would need to file those objections in writing with the probate court. If you are seeking to admit a different Will, then you also have to file a petition in that proceeding, seeking to admit the Will that you believe to be the correct Will. Consulting with an attorney is highly recommended.
Just because you didn’t receive what you expected to inherit from someone’s estate does not mean that there is the good claim that you can bring. Normally, a lack of receiving your expectations is not going to be a good basis for challenging a Will or making a claim against an estate. However, if you have something in writing that promises you something that’s not included in the Will, it certainly can be used to challenge the Will.
Time constraints on challenging a Will vary from state to state. In Michigan, if a Will is admitted by what is known as an informal procedure, there is no statute of limitations for challenging the Will. But if a Will is admitted in a formal procedure, it cannot be contested after the appeal period expires, which is 28 days after entry of the order. If seeking to vacate an order admitting a Will in formal proceedings, then a petition to vacate must be filed before the earlier of (1) the entry of an order approving the final distributions, (2) 6 months of the filing of the sworn statement, or (3) one year after the entry of the order sought to be vacated.
In most cases, you will need to go to court because a proceeding to admit a Will has to be brought in probate court. If you are seeking to challenge it, you are going to have to be doing so within the confines of the probate court where the Will is being sought to be admitted.
The legal costs of contesting a Will are generally paid by the person who is contesting the Will, unless they can prove that the other party who was seeking to have the estate probated without a Will, or is seeking to admit a different Will, is doing so fraudulently.
Contesting a Trust is a completely different process, where the person who wants to contest a Trust has to start the action on their own, rather than challenge the action in a probate proceeding that’s already started.
For more information on the Process of Contesting 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.