Michigan Will Contest

In certain circumstances an heir or beneficiary will discover that a family member did not provide for them in their Will as they expected. This can occur when the decedent provides a substantial amount of assets to one child to the detriment of another child, disinherited certain individuals or deviated significantly from prior Wills executed during the decedent’s life time. Typically, these changes occur late in the decedent’s lifetime and usually when they are elderly, vulnerable or ill.  These changes are often preceded by someone taking control of the person’s health care, financial decisions, or isolating the person from other family members. If these circumstances occur, a family member is not left without any recourse and can legally challenge the Will.

How to Initiate a Will Contest in Michigan.

In order to contest a Will, you must be either an heir of the decedent, devisee under the contested Will, devisee under a prior Will, or would have inherited if the decedent died intestate (without a Will)

An action to contest a Will is initiated by filing Objections to the admission of the Will in the appropriate probate court. The Objections must set forth the legal grounds supporting the challenge. Some of the most common grounds for contesting a Will include:

  • The Will was not created in accordance with the formal requirements set forth under the Michigan probate code (e.g., the Will was not signed or witnessed properly)
  • The Testator of the Will lacked the necessary capacity to establish the Will at the time of execution (e.g., the Testator was not mentally sound at the time the Will was signed)
  • The Will was the result of “Undue Influence” by a third party (e.g., the Testator was pressured or forced into signing the Will through the acts of a third party)
  • The Will was induced by fraud or misrepresentation (e.g., the Testator did not realize he or she was signing a Will, or was tricked into signing the Will)
  • The Will was induced by coercion or duress (e.g., the Testator was threatened with physical or financial harm)
  • The existence of a later executed Will, Codicil or Revocation.

Although contesting a Will can be complicated, in some instances, legal action becomes necessary. A consultation with our Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Trust & Probate Litigation law firm at the DeLuca Law Firm, is a good first step. We have significant experience handling Will and Trust disputes and other probate litigation matters, and we can help you assess the validity of your circumstances. Please contact Frank M. DeLuca for a free consultation at (248) 940-2000.