Information on Wills in Michigan

By A.L. Kennedy

In Michigan, the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, also known as EPIC, governs wills. A Michigan will must meet certain requirements spelled out in EPIC. Wills in Michigan are supervised by county probate courts, which oversee the work a personal representative does in carrying out the will and which hear challenges against the validity of a will, according to the Calhoun County Courts.

In Michigan, the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, also known as EPIC, governs wills. A Michigan will must meet certain requirements spelled out in EPIC. Wills in Michigan are supervised by county probate courts, which oversee the work a personal representative does in carrying out the will and which hear challenges against the validity of a will, according to the Calhoun County Courts.

Definition

Michigan's Estates and Protected Individuals Code defines a will as an "instrument that appoints a personal representative, revokes or revises another will, nominates a guardian, or expressly excludes or limits the right of an individual or class to succeed to the decedent's property that is passing by intestate succession," according to Michigan Compiled Laws section 700.1108. A document that does any one of these things may be considered a will in Michigan, as long as it is in a valid will format.

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Format

A Michigan will is valid only if it is in writing and signed by the testator and at least two witnesses, according to Michigan Compiled Laws section 700.2502. Michigan law makes an exception for holographic, or handwritten, wills. In Michigan, a will that is signed, dated, and has "material portions" written in the testator's handwriting may be a valid will even if it is not witnessed, according to Michigan Compiled Laws section 700.2502.

Self-Proved Wills

A Michigan will may be "self-proved" if it includes a sworn and notarized statement by the testator, or person who made the will, and each of the two witnesses. Section 700.2504 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, or EPIC, gives the proper wording for the sworn and notarized statements. Although a Michigan will does not have to be notarized to be valid, the self-proving clauses make probate easier by eliminating the need for the will's witnesses to testify in court to prove the will is valid.

Revocation

In Michigan, a will can be revoked either by making a new will that says it revokes any current wills or by destroying all or part of a will, according to Michigan Compiled Laws section 700.2507. If the new will does not say it revokes a previous will, the Michigan probate courts will assume the new will revokes the previous will if the new will covers all of the testator's property. The probate court will assume the new will supplements or replaces only part of the previous will if the new will only covers part of the testator's property or only addresses part of what is covered in the previous will such as the name of the personal representative or guardian.

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Definition of Last Will and Testament in Michigan

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Write a Will in Michigan

When Michigan residents die without making a will or other legal arrangement for their property, the probate court distributes their property according to Michigan law. Most people, however, have a different arrangement in mind for how to leave their property behind when they die. Making a will in Michigan makes it more likely your wishes will be carried out, and it may reduce the amount of time your family spends in probate court.

How to Change Your Heirs in Your Will

In your will, you name an executor, the person who will manage your estate according to the distribution instructions that you also provide in your will. If your will meets your state's requirements, the probate court will uphold it and the executor becomes legally bound by its terms. He will have to give your property to the persons you named as the recipients of the property in your will. If you change your mind after you make your will, you must change your will or make a new one. Otherwise, people you don't want to inherit from you will receive property from your estate.

Children and Contesting a Will

A will contest or will challenge is a lawsuit brought in the probate court to test whether the will is valid according to the law. The people who most often contest a will include the beneficiaries of the deceased person, especially the deceased person's children. Adult children may file a will contest on their own behalf, but children under the age of 18 will need to be represented by their legal guardian, according to Lawyers.com.

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