Macomb County Contested Wills (Litigation)

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Contested Wills (Litigation)

Contested Wills

A well-crafted will is a critical component of any estate plan and helps guide the distribution of any assets that do not have assigned beneficiaries, the payment of outstanding bills and administrative costs, and addresses the matter of minor children’s guardianship – if applicable. When a will is contested, it can seriously complicate things, which is one of many reasons why it’s in your best interest to work with an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney from the outset.

Are you doubting the validity of a will? Are you administering an estate, and someone filed a challenge to the will? In either situation, you should seek qualified legal help immediately.

Contesting a Will

Once a deceased person’s will enters probate, only someone with a legal interest in the estate can contest it. In other words, only someone who stands to benefit from the will if it’s found invalid by the court is eligible to contest it. This is called having legal standing.

Those with legal standing to contest a will in Michigan include:

  • Those who have a legal interest in the estate, such as heirs identified by the state’s laws of intestacy
  • Those who are identified as beneficiaries in the will
  • Fiduciaries of the estate, such as the administrator

Common Reasons that Wills Are Contested

There are several primary reasons that wills are contested in Michigan.


When someone is identified as lacking the mental or physical ability to manage their own affairs, including their personal care, finances, or property, they are referred to as incapacitated. In these instances, the person’s will can be contested. In order to sign and validate a will, an individual must understand the legal impact. The element of capacity in Michigan includes that the person is at least 18 years old and has the sufficient mental capacity to create a will along with all the following:

  • They understand that they are addressing the disposition of their property upon death.
  • They understand the nature and extent of their property.
  • They understand the nature of their relationship with those assigned as heirs.
  • They understand the nature and effect of signing the will.

Undue Influence

When an outside person exerts undue influence on the person creating the will, which leads to terms that are not in accordance with their wishes, it is grounds for the will to be contested. Proving undue influence can be difficult, and the guidance of a skilled attorney is critical in these cases.


Fraud refers to deception that is intended to result in financial or personal gain, and it is a valid reason for contesting a will. Some examples of how fraud might occur include:

  • Someone lying about the implications of amending a will
  • Convincing someone to sign a document when they are unaware it is a will
  • Convincing someone to sign a document with altered provisions they are unaware of.

These are only a few of the falsehoods that can qualify as fraud in the estate planning process.

Improper Procedure

Michigan law requires that wills be signed by their creators in the presence of two witnesses and a notary. When this doesn’t happen, the will can be contested.

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Michigan Estate Planning Attorney

The skilled Michigan estate planning attorneys at Aiello & Associates take great pride in their long history of helping clients create strong wills that reflect their wishes and bolster their peace of mind. And when a will dispute or suspicion of fraud arises, we fiercely advocate for the best interests of our clients.

If you or your family need guidance with a contested will issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information today.

If you are facing a tough legal issue, the decisions you make now can affect you for the rest of your life. That’s why it’s important to seek the help of an experienced and aggressive lawyer.
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