Monday, July 31, 2017

A Will Must Be Signed, Right?

By: Jeff Ammons


Wrong.  In a recently published case, the Michigan Court of Appeals took what has previously been taken as fact – that a will needs to be signed for it to be admitted to probate – and turned it on its head.  In In re Estate of Attia, 317 Mich App 705 (2016), the Court held that under Michigan law a will does not have to be signed in order to be admitted to probate, so long as the proponent of the will establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the decedent intended the document to be her/his will.   

This holding will inevitably be misconstrued as turning what was meant to be a very small exception to the will signing requirement into a gaping hole.  So it will inevitably have practice implications for both estate planners and probate litigators alike.   

If you’d like to discuss In re Estate of Attia, or its potential implications, please feel free to contact Jeff Ammons in the Troy, Michigan office at 313-223-3122.