There are several different requirements that a will generally needs to meet in order to be legally binding here in Michigan. One such requirement is the witness requirement.
For most wills in Michigan, the signatures of two witness are required. In order to qualify as a witness for a will, a person must be competent and have witnessed one of two things:
- The person the will is for (the testator) signing the will.
- The person the will is for (the testator) acknowledging his/her signature of the will.
The witnesses must sign after one of these two things have been observed. There is one type of will here in Michigan that is exempt from the witness requirement: holographic wills. A holographic will is a will that is handwritten by the person it is for. Generally, Michigan deems such a will valid, even without witness signatures, if:
- The material provisions of the will are in the testators handwriting;
- The will is dated, and
- The will is signed by the testator at the end
Knowing what makes a will valid is very important for all individuals in Michigan who are drafting a will. Failure to comply with state law requirements regarding wills can result in the will being unenforceable once the testator passes away. If this occurs then the laws of Michigan govern how any assets will be distributed. Estate planning attorneys can help individuals who are working on a will stay apprised of what the will requirements here in Michigan are and can work to help them create wills that comply with such requirements.
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice, but rather is simply aimed at giving some general information.