Michigan Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Michigan

Note:  This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of wills in Michigan, but does contain basic and other provisions.  It does not discuss hand written wills or wills where the testator cannot sign his or her name.

Who may make a will: Until April 1, 2010, any individual 18 years of age or older who was of sound mind could make a will. Effective April 1, 2010, the words “sound mind” have been changed to “of sufficient mental capacity.” The section heading reads: “Will; maker; sufficient mental capacity.” and this section provides: An individual 18 years of age or older who has sufficient mental capacity may make a will. An individual is considered to be of sufficient mental capacity to make a will if all of the following requirements are met:

(a) The individual has the ability to understand that he or she is providing for the disposition of his or her property after death.
(b) The individual has the ability to know the nature and extent of his or her property.
(c) The individual knows the natural objects of his or her bounty.
(d) 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. 700.2501.

Execution and witnessing of wills: A will must be signed by the testator and witnessed by at least 2 individuals, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after he or she witnessed either the signing of the will or the testator’s acknowledgment of the will. 700.2502

Simultaneous execution; attestation; self-proving acknowledgment; witnesses: A will may be simultaneously executed, attested, and made self-proved by acknowledgment of the will by the testator and 2 witnesses’ sworn statements, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of the state in which execution occurs and evidenced by the officer’s certificate, under official seal. 700.2504

Witness; competency; interested: An individual generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will. The signing of a will by an interested witness does not invalidate the will or any provision of it. 700.2505

Choice of law as to execution: A written will is valid if executed in compliance with section 2502 or 2503, with the law at the time of execution of the place where the will is executed, or with the law of the place where, at the time of execution or at the time of death, the testator is domiciled, has a place of abode, or is a national. 700.2506

Revocation: A will or a part of a will is revoked by either of the following acts:
(a) Execution of a subsequent will that revokes the previous will or a part of the will expressly or by inconsistency;or
(b) Performance of a revocatory act on the will, if the testator performed the act with the intent and for the purpose of revoking the will or a part of the will or if another individual performed the act in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction. For purposes of this subdivision, “revocatory act on the will” includes burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying the will or a part of the will. A burning, tearing, or canceling is a revocatory act on the will, whether or not the burn, tear, or cancellation touches any of the words on the will.

If a subsequent will does not expressly revoke a previous will, the execution of the subsequent will wholly revokes the previous will by inconsistency if the testator intended the subsequent will to replace rather than supplement the previous will.

The testator is presumed to have intended a subsequent will to replace rather than supplement a previous will if the subsequent will makes a complete disposition of the testator’s estate. If this presumption arises and is not rebutted by clear and convincing evidence, the previous will is revoked, and only the subsequent will is operative on the testator’s death.

The testator is presumed to have intended a subsequent will to supplement rather than replace a previous will if the subsequent will does not make a complete disposition of the testator’s estate. If this presumption arises and is not rebutted by clear and convincing evidence, the subsequent will revokes the previous will only to the extent the subsequent will is inconsistent with the previous will, and each will is fully operative on the testator’s death to the extent they are not inconsistent. 700.2507

Revocation by change of circumstances: Except as provided in sections 2802 to 2809, a change of circumstances does not revoke a will or a part of a will. 700.2508

Revival of revoked will: If a subsequent will that wholly revoked a previous will is later revoked by a revocatory act upon the will, the previous will remains revoked unless it is revived. The previous will is revived if it is evident from the circumstances of the revocation of the subsequent will or from the testator’s contemporary or subsequent declarations that the testator intended the previous will to take effect as executed.

If a subsequent will that partly revoked a previous will is later revoked by a revocatory act upon the will, a revoked part of the previous will is revived unless it is evident from the circumstances of the revocation of the subsequent will or from the testator’s contemporary or subsequent declarations that the testator did not intend the revoked part to take effect as executed.

If a subsequent will that revoked a previous will in whole or in part is later revoked by another, later will, the previous will remains revoked in whole or in part, unless it or its revoked part is revived. The previous will or its revoked part is revived to the extent it appears from the terms of the later will that the testator intended the previous will to take effect. 700.2509

Incorporation by reference: A writing in existence when a will is executed may be incorporated by reference if the language of the will manifests this intent and describes the writing sufficiently to permit its identification. 700.2510


Inside Michigan Last Will and Testament Law