Any of our Michigan readers familiar with previous posts here know that there are a wide variety of estate planning instruments to consider when it comes to protecting assets and avoiding probate litigation. Some will choose trusts because of the relative ease with which assets can be passed on to future generations. Others choose the tried-and-true will, in which the estate planner can designate property distribution as well as detail important decisions like naming guardians for minor children. There are many approaches, and having an estate plan is almost always better than leaving an estate in the hands of state intestate laws.
When a Michigan resident decides that a will is the way to go, there are some important factors to take into consideration. First, a will needs to be drafted and executed properly to be valid. Failure to ensure that all of the proper steps have been taken could leave a Michigan resident with an invalid will - which is essentially useless. But, even if the will is valid when it is first executed, a recent article noted there are ways to invalidate it in the aftermath.
As noted in the article, making changes to a will after the first draft is executed could lead to the will being declared invalid when it comes time to look at the will in the probate process. The article explained that when someone wants to make a change to a will - which can be common when major life events occur, like a marriage or the death of a previously named beneficiary - making the changes "in the margins" could be a major problem.
Having a will is essential, but sometimes the document needs to be updated. Making sure that the proper steps are taken to modify the document will be crucial in maintaining the validity of the will.
Source: RecordOnline, "Protecting your future: Changing your will haphazardly might get it ruled invalid," Bonnie Kraham, Jan. 30, 2014