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What are the common reasons to contest a will?

Like many other Michigan residents, you may think that a will is set in stone and that once it goes through the probate system, there is nothing you can do to challenge its terms. In many cases, you would be correct. However, in some instances you may be able to successfully contest a will.

As FindLaw explains, most properly executed wills go through probate without any problems, the reason being that a person’s last will and testimony is recognized by the court as his or her voice. It is the goal of the court to honor the testator’s last wishes. However, what if you believe the terms of a will are unfair or that the document is invalid? The following examples illustrate some of the most common reasons people challenge a will:

  • Someone wrote a holographic will – meaning that it was written in the person’s own handwriting and signed without witnesses.
  • The will being executed is not the most current one – older wills should be destroyed and each version of a will should be dated and include a statement that previous versions are void.
  • There is concern that the will was written under undue influence, fraud or forgery – meaning there may be reason to suspect the testator was manipulated into writing the terms without having free will or knowledge of what he or she was doing.

It may be difficult to challenge a will, but you have the right to have your voice heard in court if you believe a will’s terms are unfair or invalid. This information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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