If you’re one of many Michigan residents who have recently laid a parent to rest, your circumstances call for sympathy and support from various entities. Perhaps you are the executor of your parent’s estate or expect to receive an inheritance. In such cases, it’s helpful to seek guidance from someone well-versed in probate law in case complications arise, such as the possibility that your parent’s last will and testament is invalid.
When a probate court judge rules that a last will and testament is invalid, the instructions in the document become moot because they are no longer legally enforceable. A person challenging a will must demonstrate evidence to convince the court that the document is invalid. Therefore, it’s helpful to know what types of issues constitute invalidity regarding a last will and testament.
No one can pressure your loved one into signing a last will and testament
If you believe that your parent was under duress when he or she signed a last will and testament and you are able to prove it, this would be an issue that constitutes invalidity. For example, if someone threatened harm to your parent or other family members to get him or her to sign a will, that would be duress.
If someone, such as a professional caretaker or friend of the family or a business colleague, exploited your parent so that, instead of leaving portions of the estate to adult children or other family members, the person in question became the sole beneficiary, this might also be a sign that your loved one was not acting with free will to execute a final will.
Did your loved one lack testamentary capacity?
For a will to be valid, the testator (person signing it) must be of sound mind and fully understand the value of his or her estate. A testator must also demonstrate understanding of the implications of signing the will, meaning that he or she understands the consequences of the instructions in the will, such as certain people inheriting specific items or assets.
If you believe that your loved one lacked testamentary capacity when he or she signed a will, it may constitute invalidity, as long as you can provide evidence to prove your allegation.
Has someone forged your parent’s signature?
A testator must sign a last will and testament in accordance with Michigan estate laws. If someone has forged your parent’s signature on a will, the document is not valid. If it is not valid, it is not legally enforceable. In such a case, you would have grounds for contesting the will in a probate court.
There are numerous other issues that would compel a probate judge to rule a particular last will and testament invalid. If you plan to contest a will based on invalidity, be prepared to show evidence to substantiate your claim.