When a loved one passes away, nothing complicates this stressful time more than learning you were omitted from their will.
Regardless of whether their intentions were accidental or deliberate, you find yourself thrust into an uncomfortable situation during an already emotional time. If you feel inclined to dispute your exclusion, contesting the will remains your best option to resolve the situation.
The most common and legitimate reason to contest a will revolves around wills deemed invalid according to the state’s inheritance laws. 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 due to the persistent problem of fraudulent wills. Manipulative relatives and friends, in extremely despicable occasions, may trick the confused loved one into signing a document. Michigan considers 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 their will, consider contacting an experienced attorney who understands the probate process.
For more information about contesting a will from the attorneys at Cottrell Law, please contact us here or call our office directly at 616.560.3843.