What are the grounds to challenge a will?
November 7, 2019
Challenging a will in Michigan is not easy. The courts typically view the will as the voice of the testator. Because that person is no longer here to express his or her wishes, they are reluctant to stray from the document. That said, some will contests are successful. If you are a beneficiary named in the will, and if you want to challenge the document, you must have legal grounds to do so, which FindLaw explores in depth.
The most successful grounds on which to contest a will are that the testator lacked testamentary capacity. It is the courts’ view that minors do not have the ability to create a legal will. Adults who lack capacity typically have dementia, senility, insanity or some other mental disorder. Adults who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of creating the will also lack testamentary capacity.
You may also successfully contest a will based on the grounds of forgery, fraud or undue influence. If you can prove that someone manipulated the testator into writing or changing a will that left all or most of the testator’s assets to the manipulator, the courts may determine that undue influence took place.
If you know that the will in question is an old will, and if you can present the most recent document, the court will use the newer will as guidance. If the testator signed the decree without sufficient and appropriate witnesses, the courts may deem it invalid.
If the will contains invalid provisions, the courts may deem all or part of the will unenforceable. Though state laws vary on what a legal will must provide, most states require that a will expressly state who the testator is, name a personal representative and include at least one substantive clause.
You should not use this information as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.