Wills

Highly Experienced Traverse City Estate Planning Lawyers Serving Individuals and Families Throughout Michigan

If someone dies in Michigan without having a valid will in place, they will lose control of their property. In this case, the estate goes to probate court and is distributed based on Michigan's intestacy laws rather than the deceased’s wishes. This means that your property will be given to your closest family members, starting with a spouse or child if you have them. If you don’t, the law provides that other relatives will inherit your estate, but if you have no living relatives, your property ultimately goes to the state.

Retaining a Traverse City estate planning attorney to create a will can help you make sure that your wishes are carried out—and carried out efficiently. At Neumann Law Group, our Grand Rapids and Traverse City estate planning and probate lawyers have extensive experience creating wills and other documents that can provide your family with peace of mind for decades.

What is a Will?

A will, also known as a “last will and testament,” is a legally binding document in which you can outline your preferences with regard to the distribution of your property and how your children’s affairs will be handled. In Michigan, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind and body to create a will. The will needs to be a written document and must be signed by two competent witnesses.

What Happens to Your Assets When You Die?

How your estate is administered depends on whether you have a valid will and the size of your estate. If your estate is small, it may be probated using summary administration, which does not require a personal representative to be appointed. When an estate is large, there are two types of administration: supervised and unsupervised administration. The former requires the court to approve your personal representative’s actions. The latter requires the court’s involvement only at the beginning of the process and at the end of it, and when requested by the personal representative.

Your will does not need to be notarized to be enforceable, but to make your will self-proving, notarization is required. A self-proving will may expedite matters during probate. Our wills lawyers can assist Traverse City and Grand Rapids residents with making sure that their wills are notarized.

Are Handwritten Wills Valid in Michigan?

Yes, handwritten wills are valid in Michigan, but it is generally a better idea to work with an attorney to create your will rather than to try to create one on your own. After the death of a loved one, tensions may be running high, and family members may fight about property and whether the loved one knew what they were doing when the will was prepared. Will contests are less likely when an attorney has been involved in preparing a will.

Will Contests

Potential grounds for contesting a will include the incapacity of the person making the will, a valid later will being made, undue influence, forgery, and improper execution. Many of these grounds for challenging a will are not likely to be successful if an attorney has been involved in preparing the will. For example, undue influence applies when someone says that the person making the will did not exercise their own judgment when making the will but instead made the will based on someone else’s preferences, duress, fraud, or coercion.

Retain an Experienced Wills Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City

If you do not yet have an estate plan, it is important to consider your options and learn more about the benefits of creating a will and other estate planning documents. The Traverse City wills lawyers can help by meeting with you to discuss your situation and provide you with an overview of the estate planning process. We also represent people in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact Neumann Law Group at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up an appointment. We also can assist people who need a trust administration attorney or guidance with other estate planning matters.

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