When an individual dies, their will can provide valuable information about how to distribute their assets and close their estate. However, when a decedent’s family member or loved one disagrees with the contents of the will, a complicated legal situation may arise.
At Bassett Murray Law Group, we can help you navigate will contests professionally and strategically. Contact our estate planning lawyers today at 734-930-9200 to schedule a consultation in Ann Arbor, MI.
What Is a Will Contest?
Contesting a will is the process of objecting to the contents of the will and asking a judge to invalidate them. A person may contest a will if they believe it does not reflect the decedent’s true wishes for their estate.
Who Can Contest a Will?
Typically, only people with a personal interest in the will can contest it.
Family members of the decedent are the most likely people to contest a will. For example, if a decedent’s family member was expecting to receive an inheritance from the decedent, but the will left them out entirely, they may contest the will to claim that it did not reflect the decedent’s wishes.
Acceptable Reasons to Contest a Will
Some individuals may contest a will simply because they are unhappy with the property or assets the decedent left them. However, other times, beneficiaries have a lawful reason to contest a will.
Here are a few sufficient legal reasons for will contests:
You may contest a will because you believe the decedent wrote it under undue influence from another person. For example, maybe you think that the decedent’s son coerced or pressured the decedent to leave most of the estate to him rather than splitting it between all of the decedent’s children.
Elders are often sensitive to undue influence, especially if they do not understand the process of creating a will.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
When a person creates a will, they need to be in a sound mind and have sufficient mental capacity. Specifically, Michigan law states that the creator of a will must:
- Be able to understand that they are indicating the disposition of their property
- Know the extent of their property
- Understand the general effect of signing the will
If the decedent was incapacitated when they created the will, it might not reflect their actual wishes for their property.
Fraud or Forgery
You may also believe that the decedent did not create the will at all and that another person forged it or deceived the decedent into signing it. For example, the decedent may have believed they were signing their will but actually signed a completely different document.
Failure to Adhere to Legal Requirements
Finally, if the will does not adhere to specific legal requirements, it may not be valid. Therefore, creating a will with an attorney’s assistance is essential to ensure that it stands up to legal scrutiny.
Contact Our Probate Attorneys in Ann Arbor, MI, Today
Contesting a will is a complex legal process that requires the assistance of an attorney. If you’re considering will contests, contact our Bassett Murray Law Group today at 734-930-9200 to schedule a consultation in Ann Arbor, MI.