How Do You Make a Valid Will In Michigan?

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To make a valid will under Michigan law, the will must be:

  1. In writing;
  2. Signed by the testator or by some other person in the testator’s conscious presence and at the testator’s direction; and
  3. Signed by at least two witnesses.

 

The requirements for a valid will under Michigan Law are set forth in Mich. Comp. Laws § 700.2502.

Who Can Make a Will Under Michigan Law?

In order to have the ability to make a valid will under Michigan law, the testator must be at least 18 years old and have sufficient mental capacity.

Michigan law sets forth when an individual has sufficient mental capacity to make a will in Mich Comp. Laws § 700.2501.  An individual has sufficient mental capacity to make a valid Michigan will when:

  1. The individual has the ability to understand that he or she is providing for the disposition of his or her property after death.
  2. The individual has the ability to know the nature and extent of his or her property.
  3. The individual knows the natural objects of his or her bounty.
  4. The individual has the ability to understand in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of his or her act in signing the will.

 

A Michigan Will Must Be Signed By The Testator

Michigan law requires that a will be signed by the testator or by some other person at the testator’s direction and in the conscious presence of the testator.

If possible, it is a good idea to have the testator sign the will instead of someone else signing at the testator’s direction.  A will challenger might use the fact that a testator did not sign the will himself or herself to suggest that the testator was mentally unable to do so.

A Michigan Will Must Be Witnessed By Two Witnesses

In order to be valid in Michigan, a will must be witnessed by two witnesses.  Each of the witnesses must have signed within a reasonable time of either witnessing the testator’s signature, or the testator’s acknowledgement of that signature.

Witnesses to a valid Michigan will must be competent to do so.  Michigan law provides that “an individual generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will.”  Mich. Comp. Laws § 700.2505.  Basically, a witness must have the ability to testify to the circumstances of the will execution if required to do so.

Can a Beneficiary Witness a Will In Michigan?

Yes.  Under Michigan law there is no prohibition against an interested witness serving as a witness to the will.  The signing of the will by an interested witness does not invalidate the will or any provision of it under Michigan law.  See Mich. Comp. Laws §700.2505.

Are Handwritten Wills Valid In Michigan?

Yes, handwritten (holographic) wills are recognized as valid under Michigan law if the will is dated and signed by the testator at the end, and if all of the material portions of the will are in the testator’s handwriting.  See Mich. Comp. Laws § 700.2502(2).

Does a Will Need To Be Notarized To Be Valid In Michigan?

No. Under Michigan law a will does not need to be notarized in order to be valid.

A will can be made self-proving if it is signed in front of a notary, which can make the process of probating the will easier.  The language to make a will self-proved in Michigan is set forth in Mich. Comp. Laws § 700.2504.

It is always a good idea to consult with a Michigan probate attorney to make sure that you make a will that is valid under Michigan law.

 

General Probate Issues