21 Jan Contested Probate: When Your Last Wishes Are Not Enough
When a loved one passes away and surprises you by omitting you from their will — what should you do? Their actions — either accidental or deliberate — unfortunately place you in an uncomfortable situation during an already stressful and emotional time. If you question your exclusion, contesting the will remains your best option to resolve the situation.
One of the most common and legitimate reasons to contest revolves around wills unprepared by the state’s inheritance laws are deemed invalid. Wills require two witnesses watching the writer and each other sign. Without these valid witnesses, the will may not hold up in the eyes of the law.
Michigan requires witnesses because of the persistent problem of fraudulent wills. Manipulative relatives and friends, in extremely despicable occasions, trick the confused loved one into signing a document. The state deems a will completed under these circumstances as fraudulent.
The state also deems a will void if the departed was deemed incapable of understanding the worth of their assets and estate. For example, a person with severe issues of dementia or Alzheimer’s may not fully understand the worth of the belongings they intend to bequeath, or the problems arising from excluding loved ones from the will.
In some cases, someone pressures a loved one on their deathbed to alter the will to benefit themselves or remove another person from the will. With the most extreme versions of this, the court considers this undue influence. With evidence proving that excessive nagging and pressure influenced the alteration, such as providing an older version of the will or signs of abuse, helps your case in probate court.
If you have evidence or reason to believe that a friend or relative manipulated or wrongfully influenced the will, consider contacting an attorney to contest a probate.