Creating a will is a way to pass on assets to future generations in a detailed and organized manner. A will allows you to set forth your intended distribution of your property and hopefully minimize conflict between heirs. In some cases, however, your will is not enough to avoid family conflict. If a beneficiary does not agree with how your estate is being handled, or if there was a prior will that had a different distribution of property, he or she may file a will contest.
A will contest challenges the validity of a will. There are a number of different reasons that you might believe a will is legally invalid, including the following:
· The individual who made the will (the testator) was not competent at the time the will was made.
· Another person who stands to benefit from the will unduly influenced the testator to include certain provisions in the will, such as by making threats of harm or deceiving the testator.
· The language of the will is not clear or subject to more than one interpretation.
· The current will doesn’t reflect what the testator intended.
· An intended beneficiary was cut out or left out of the will.
· Certain items of property or assets are left out of the will, either purposefully or on accident.
A will contest only can be filed by a beneficiary of the will, or a person who would inherit under Michigan’s laws for intestate succession, which apply when a person passes away without a will. It is up to the person alleging that the will is invalid to provide sufficient evidence of that invalidity. For instance, if you are alleging that a will is invalid because of undue influence, you must prove that the person involved exerted enough influence on the testator to overpower his or her will and act according to the other person’s wishes. The other person typically is a caregiver, a new spouse, a family member, a close friend of the testator, or anyone who could exert sufficient influence over the testator.
Whether you are defending the contents of a loved one’s will or interested in challenging someone’s will, you will need any experienced probate attorney to help you through the complex legal process of a will contest. We are here to answer your questions, both now and in the future, about all aspects of the estate planning and probate process, including will contests. At Legacy Law Center, we have represented the interests of countless individuals throughout these legal proceedings. Contact our office and set up an appointment with one of our experienced Michigan probate attorneys today.
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