The death of a cherished family member, such as a parent, is a difficult experience on its own, made much worse when legal issues are involved. If you face a legal dispute involving a last will and testament, it is important to understand your rights and legal options. The first step is speaking with an experienced attorney about your situation.
Contested Will Lawyers Serving All of West Michigan
At Willis Law, we provide skilled representation to individuals and families throughout West Michigan, assisting them with all types of probate and estate litigation, including lawsuites contesting wills. Our law firm is dedicated to a Christian model of service with a mission to protect clients as they make the best decisions for their family and their future.
Do You Have the Right to Contest a Will?
To be entered in a will contest lawsuit, the court must be persuaded that you are a person with standing. "Standing" simply means that you have the right to bring your claim to the court. In a will contest, an individual with standing is:
- A beneficiary of the will
- A person not named in the will who should have been named
- A person who would have been named had there been a will
Grounds for Contesting a Will
- Incapacity: For a will to be valid, the decedent must have been of sound mind when the will was made. A finding of incapacity usually requires proof that when the will was drafted, the decedent was mentally ill, under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of drugs.
- Undue influence: A valid will is made by a person (the testator) who is freely exercising his or her own judgment. If the decedent made the will according to the wishes of another person, the will may be invalidated on the grounds of undue influence. Examples of this include coercion, duress and fraud.
- Improper execution: A valid will is created and executed in compliance with Michigan law. The will must be in writing, signed by the testator or in the conscious presence of the testator by a representative, and signed by at least two individuals who either witnessed the testator's signature or received the testator's acknowledgment of that signature.
- Forgery: A will can be found invalid if any portions of it are found to be forged, including the terms of the will, the signature of the testator or the signatures of the witnesses.
In Michigan, there are complex time limits on probate litigation. If you are considering a will contest, now is the time to take action. Our will contest lawyers will advise you on whether your claim can be legally filed and take immediate action to protect your rights.
Contact an Experienced Will Dispute Resolution Lawyer
To learn more about your legal options for a will contest, contact us online or call 888-635-3824 today for a free initial consultation. We have office locations in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Paw Paw.