Contested Wills in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Grand Rapids, MI

In Grand Rapids, Michigan there are particular procedures permitting certain people to challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized as a "will contest" or "contested will."

Occasionally, testators leave out of their wills people who might normally expect to inherit a large portion of the testator's estate (spouses, for example). This might lead them to assume, correctly or not, that the will was a mistake.

If there is a massive amount of money or property at stake, a family member who was left out of the will might find it to be worth the time or money to contest it.

Like any legal matter, however, this should not be taken lightly. Will contests can foster conflict and strife within families who are already mourning a loved one. This can cause grave and irreversible damage to family relationships.

When Can a Will be Contested in Grand Rapids, Michigan?

Of course, a Grand Rapids, Michigan court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some instances which render a will clearly invalid.

To be valid, a will must be a product of the testator's own free will. So, a will that the testator was forced or tricked into making is not valid, if the probate court finds out about the duress or trickery. Of course, wills are usually made many years before a person dies, so how can a person expect to prove duress or fraud if they suspect it? To begin with, it's not easy. It is possible, however. First of all, it's good to have as much documentation of the testator's affairs as possible. Any written statements concerning their desires on this matter will also be very useful, if there are any. Further, if the suspect gift is totally out of left field (property is left to someone that you know the testator didn't like, or barely knew, for instance), this might also support your position that the will was invalid. Of course, the testator can leave his or her money to whomever they want, so these facts, by themselves, will not be enough to prove fraud or duress.

Another reason why a will might be invalid is the maker of the will being mentally incompetent at the time the will was made. In order to make a legitimate will, the individual making it must have enough of his or her mental faculties to understand what they're doing, and the consequences of it.

If you successfully contest the will in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the court will likely distribute the property as if the decedent had died without a will. This usually involves giving it to the closest living relative. While the exact intestacy schemes (the order in which property is distributed to relatives) vary from state to state, they are usually pretty similar. If possible, the property will go to the decedent's spouse, and if the decedent has any minor children with that spouse, it is with the understanding that the money will be used primarily for their care. If the decedent did not have children or a spouse (or outlived them), the property typically goes to the decedent's parents. If neither of them are alive, it goes to grand children, grandparents, or siblings. After that, it typically goes to cousins, nieces/nephews, step-children, former spouses, etc. Intestacy laws provide a line of succession long enough that just about anyone will leave at least one person behind who is entitled to inherit from them, even if they're an extremely distant relation. Sometimes, however, people make multiple wills, to account for the many personal and financial changes that normally happen during a person's life. Normally, the most recent will purports to revoke all past wills, to avoid any conflict between them. In such cases, if a will is entirely invalidated, a court can sometimes revive the second most recent will.

Can a Grand Rapids, Michigan Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is often hard, and never fun. However, the entire process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a reliable Grand Rapids, Michigan attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.

Talk to a Wills, Trusts and Estates Law Attorney now!

Life in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, MI is a city serving as the county seat of Kent County. It is a fairly large city, with a population of slightly under 200,000 people. Human habitation of the area now known as Grand Rapids can be traced back at least 2,000 years, when elements of the Hopewell Culture (a large group of tribes which extended from Canada down the Southeastern U.S., which developed cultural similarities through centuries of trade) lived in the area. By about 1700AD, the Ottawa Indians had moved into the area, and established a permanent presence. Europeans first reached Grand Rapids in the early 1800s, with the first settlers being missionaries and fur traders. In the early 20th Century, Grand Rapids, Michigan became known as "the furniture city" due to its large natural supply of lumber, which lead many famous furniture manufacturers and designers to set up shop there.Modernly, furniture and automotive industries still maintain a presence in Grand Rapids, Michigan. However, their presence has gradually waned over the past decades.

If you live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and need a good attorney, chances are good that you can find one. Grand Rapids, Michigan lawyers are very qualified to handle virtually any case that comes into their door.

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