Everything you need to know about a Will: The Basics

In the state of Michigan, a valid Will must comply with MCL 700.2502. It must be in writing. It is recommended that it be drafted and executed with the assistance of a competent estate planning lawyer.

A requirement under Michigan law is that it must be signed by the testator, the person making it. In the event this does not occur, it is possible for it to be signed by another person in his or her name at the testator’s direction and in the testator’s presence.

The following video provides Everything you need to know about a Will.

Everything you need to know about a Will: Holographic Will

A valid holographic testamentary document may appear different from a traditional one. To qualify as a Holographic Will, it must comport with MCL 700.2502.

  (1) Subject to section 1202, and except as provided in subsection (2) and in sections 2503, 2506, and 2513, a will is valid only if it is all of the following:
  (a) In writing.
  (b) Signed by the testator or in the testator’s name by some other individual in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction.
  (c) Signed by at least 2 individuals, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after he or she witnessed either the signing of the will as described in subdivision (b) or the testator’s acknowledgment of that signature or acknowledgment of the will.
  (2) A will that does not comply with subsection (1) is valid as a holographic will, whether or not witnessed, if it is dated, and if the testator’s signature and the document’s material portions are in the testator’s handwriting.
  (3) Intent that the document constitutes a testator’s will can be established by extrinsic evidence, including, for a holographic will, portions of the document that are not in the testator’s handwriting.

Other Writings

Michigan’s Substantial Compliance Rule states that if the proponent can show with clear and convincing evidence that the document was intended by the decedent, the court can find it to be admissible. For example, if a document was intended to be the decedent’s testamentary intent, but was signed in the wrong location, it is possible for the court to find the document admissible.

Everything you need to know about a Will: Statutory Will

A statutory Will is a pre-printed form created under MCL 700.2519. It can be limited in its application but permits the following provisions:

  • You may leave up to two cash gifts of any amount to people or charities.
  • You may write a list of personal and household items and identify who is to receive each item.
  • You may select a personal representative to administer your property.
  • You may appoint a guardian and conservator in case you and your spouse both pass before any children reach the age of 18 years.

Everything you need to know about a Will: A Lost Will

If an original cannot be located upon the  death of the testator, and the testator was in possession of the original, there exists a rebuttable presumption that it was destroyed with the intent to revoke it. The presumption can be overcome with appropriate evidence of the testator’s intent. This situation is governed by the Michigan statute MCL 700.3402(1)(c).

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