If you die in Michigan without preparing a will, you will lose control of your property. It goes to probate court and is distributed based on Michigan's intestacy laws, rather than your wishes. This means that your property will be given to your closest family members, starting with a spouse or child if you have them. The list progresses to other relatives, but if you have no living relatives, your property ultimately goes to the state. Retaining an estate planning attorney to craft a will on your behalf may help you make sure that your wishes are respected. At Neumann Law Group, our Grand Rapids and Traverse City wills lawyers can help you prepare these instruments.Drafting Wills
Wills are legally binding documents. Also known as a "last will and testament," a will can describe 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.
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 in order to make your will self-proving, you will need to notarize it. 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.
Your will may be handwritten in Michigan, but it is wiser to work with an attorney to create your will 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.
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
People in Michigan may benefit from enlisting experienced legal counsel when planning for the disposition of their estate after their deaths. If you need to prepare a will as part of your estate plan, our Traverse City and Grand Rapids wills attorneys can help. Our firm also represents 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.