LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT TOSSED OUT OF COURT

 

In April 2005, a guardian and conservator were appointed for my client’s 89 year old mother.  After her death, her Last Will and Testament that was prepared by my office was admitted to probate.  Over a year after its admission to probate, an unrelated person presented a later dated Will purporting to gift the entire estate to him.

There were two issues before the Court.  The first is whether too much time had elapsed since the entry of the order admitting the Will to probate.  The second issue is whether the decedent had the mental capacity to execute a Will.

For a Will to be valid, the individual must be 18 years of age or older with sufficient mental capacity.  Sufficient mental capacity means that all of the following requirements are met:

(a) The individual has the ability to understand that he or she is providing for the disposition of his or her property after death.

(b) The individual has the ability to know the nature and extent of his or her property.

(c) The individual knows the natural objects of his or her bounty.

(d) The individual has the ability to understand in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of his or her act in signing the will.

This past year, my firm successfully argued that pursuant to MCL 700.3412  , the petitioner only had one year from the entry of the Order Admitting Will to offer his Will to probate.  In addition, The Probate Pro persuaded the Court that the decedent lacked the requisite mental capacity to execute the Will.  The Will was held invalid and my client inherited the entire estate.