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Elements of a valid Michigan will

Jan 4, 2021 | Estate Planning

One of the first testamentary documents that a Michigan resident may consider preparing when thinking about their estate plan is a will. A will is a legal tool that describes how a person wants items of property given to named beneficiaries when the person dies. However, a will is more than a list of property and names and must follow certain rules to be valid.

There are specific elements that must be contained in valid wills and this post will introduce some of them. This post should not be used as a substitute for specific legal advice from a knowledgeable Michigan estate planning attorney. All questions about estate planning can be discussed with lawyers who practice estate planning law.

Age of the individual

Wills may only be prepared by certain individuals. One limiting element that reduces who can prepare and execute a will is age. In Michigan, an individual must be at least 18 years old in order to execute their will.

Testamentary capacity

Testamentary capacity refers to the will creator’s ability to understand what their will says and what legal outcomes it will produce. If a person lacks testamentary capacity, or does not have soundness of mind, then their will may be invalidated later on and deemed unenforceable after their death.

Attestation of witnesses

In order for a will to be valid, it must be signed by two witnesses. The purpose of having witnesses sign a will is to validate the capacity and intentions of the will’s creator. Without witnesses, a will may not be considered enforceable.

These elements are only a few of the requirements that Michigan wills must satisfy to fulfill their testamentary purposes. Before preparing a will, it can be useful for an individual to talk about their end of life goals with an estate planning lawyer. Professionals in the estate planning field can help their clients protect their wealth and prepare plans that accomplish their personal and legal objectives.