The will left behind after someone you love dies presumably represents their final wishes. Most families strive to preserve these wishes, but sometimes they feel something is wrong with the will in question.
Under Michigan law, those with a stake in the decedent’s estate have the right to contest or challenge the document if they have concerns. If you suspect a loved one’s will does not align with their wishes, it is time to find out if you have grounds to challenge the will. Let’s look at several common grounds.
Lack of testamentary capacity
Insufficient capacity (being of unsound mind) is a leading reason relatives contest a will. To succeed, you must prove that the will maker (testator) did not understand what they were doing when they created the document. Testamentary incapacity can arise due to dementia, mental health conditions and drug or alcohol intoxication.
Undue testamentary influence
Another issue that can pave the way to a challenge arises when another party exerts influence, control or force against the person making their will. Rather than the document reflecting the testator’s true wishes, it benefits the influencing party instead of the deceased’s loved ones. Undue influence is often linked to testamentary incapacity.
Fraud or forgery
If you suspect the will was changed by fraud or forgery, you should consider contesting the document. An example of fraud is when someone gives the testator false or misleading information in order to benefit from the will. Forgery occurs when someone creates a fake will or signature in your loved one’s name.
These are just a few valid reasons to contest a will. If your circumstances are different, but you still believe the document is invalid, legal guidance can help you determine if you should mount a challenge.