While the process for making wills is similar in every state, there are vital differences as each state has its own legal requirements surrounding wills. When you make a will in Michigan, you have to follow the state-specific requirements or otherwise the court might not accept your will as valid. If you make an online will, be sure to follow the same requirements and that you use an online will customized for the state.
Can I make a will online in Michigan?
Yes. Any person who is at least 18 years of age can make a will in Michigan. As long as you follow the state-specific requirements for will making, you can make your will online. If you decide to make an online will, we recommend using an online will making service. USLegalWills is our recommendation for an online will in Michigan.
The other legal requirements for wills to be valid in Michigan are:
- The Testator (the person making the will) must have sufficient mental capacity to make a will.
- The will must be signed by at least two competent individuals, each within a reasonable amount of time after seeing the Testator sign the will or acknowledge their signature or the will itself.
- The will must be in writing.
The witnesses can be beneficiaries in the will under Michigan law—signing of the will by an “interested person” does not invalidate the will.
After making an online will, you must print it out. While some states are beginning to allow electronic or digital-only wills, Michigan does not recognize those as valid. After printing it out, you and your witnesses must all sign it.
Does Michigan require a notarized will?
No, a notarized will is not required in Michigan. However, Michigan does allow for a will to be “self-proved.” When a will is presented in the probate court, it must be validated. Having a will that is “self-proved” can help the probate court quickly validate the will.
If you and your witnesses make a sworn statement (an affidavit) in front of a notary public, you can attach those notarized documents to your will. Once attached, your will is now “self-proved,” which may speed up the probate process.
You can find a template for “self-proving” affidavits for Michigan here.
Can I name an executor in Michigan?
The executor is the person appointed to settle the estate, ensuring that the will is followed. You can name an executor when you make a will in Michigan, whether you make the will online or otherwise. It is a good idea to name someone as the executor; if no executor is named, the probate court will appoint someone (which may delay the probate process). You want to pick someone you know and trust. Unless someone challenges your choice and there is clear evidence that they are “incompetent or unsuitable” to act as the executor, the court must appoint that person.
In Michigan, there are no special restrictions on who can serve as the executor of your estate. You are free to name any adult that you trust. There are also no special conditions to name an executor who lives out-of-state. It may be more practical, however, to select someone who lives nearby. Your executor might have to handle day-to-day matters pertaining to settling your estate for weeks (or months) at a time.
Do I need an attorney to make a will in Michigan?
No, an attorney is not required to make a will in Michigan. With larger or more complex estates, it is always best to consult an estate planning attorney. But in most cases, if your will is straightforward and your estate is simple, online will making is a good option. You will want to use an online will making service with state-specific templates, and you want to make sure you meet all the legal requirements for a will to be valid in Michigan.
What types of wills are valid in Michigan?
Whether you make a will online or not, any will that meets the state requirements for Michigan is valid.
Can I make a holographic will in Michigan?
A holographic will is one that is handwritten by the Testator and signed with no witnesses. Holographic wills are accepted in Michigan if it is dated, signed, and if the material portions of the document are in the Testator’s handwriting. However, it is important to note that holographic wills often face delays in probate. The handwriting has to be proven authentic, for example. A lot of times, a person will leave out important provisions or not include the type of language necessary. This can complicate the probate process, causing long delays to settle the estate.
Can I make a nuncupative or video will in Michigan?
A nuncupative will is an oral will. Some individuals wish to leave oral wills on video. In any state, a nuncupative will is generally considered as a last resort. If someone is facing imminent death, it is better to leave a nuncupative will than no instructions at all. However, the state of Michigan does not recognize nuncupative wills. A nuncupative will made in Michigan will not be recognized as valid. Any terms left in a nuncupative will are only followed if all of your heirs agree to them.
How is a living will different from an online will in Michigan?
A living will, also sometimes known as an advance directive, is a separate legal document than a last will and testament. A living will contains medical decisions, end-of-life care, and other desires for a person’s health care should they become incapacitated and unable to communicate.
Michigan is one of the few states that does not have a statute regarding the validity of living wills. However, there have been a few court decisions that have made living wills binding in the state. You can find out more about living wills in Michigan here.
You can give someone durable power of attorney for health care, and that person can advocate on your behalf should you become incapacitated—this person is also known as your health care proxy. You can also sign a DNR (do-not-resuscitate). You can still fill out a living will, so that your health care proxy knows exactly what your medical directives are.
Why do I need to make a will online in Michigan?
A person who dies without a will is known to have died intestate. Every state has its own intestacy laws. These laws are what determine how any property you own is divided between surviving family members. It can become a lengthy legal process. The state of Michigan will also appoint a guardian for any minor children and appoint an executor for your estate. The probate process can sometimes take months or years.
If you own property, and especially if you have any minor children, it is wise to make a will. Otherwise, your estate may be held up in the probate process for a long time. You can make a will in Michigan through an online will making service or through an estate planning attorney.
What can I include in an online will in Michigan?
You can include the following in any will, made online or otherwise, in Michigan:
- The executor of your estate.
- Guardians for any minor children.
- A trusted person to oversee any property left to minor children.
- A trusted person to care for any pets.
- Specific distribution of any property.
- Gifts to any family, friends, charities, or organizations.
- Requests for distribution of personal or sentimental items.
- Distribution of family heirlooms and sentimental items.
What should not be included in a will in Michigan?
You should not include instructions for funeral arrangements or end-of-life care. Typically, a last will and testament is not consulted after the funeral. Any funeral directions left in the will might not be known until after the funeral is arranged.
For medical and end-of-life care instructions, you have to name someone as your health care proxy in Michigan. This is done by giving that person durable power of attorney for health care. You can create a living will to fully detail your desires for your health care proxy to advocate should you become incapacitated.
For funeral directions, you can either talk to family members and/or make a separate document describing what you wish for your funeral arrangements. You will want to give this document to the executor of your estate or any other trusted person.
Can I change or revoke an online will made in Michigan?
A will is a legally binding document, whether it is made online or not. However, as long as the Testator is living, the will can be changed or revoked.
In Michigan, here are ways to change or revoke a will:
- You can perform a revocatory act with the intent and purpose of revoking the will—you can burn it, shred it, tear it, or perform any other sort of act that physically destroys the will.
- You can order someone else to perform the revocatory act in front of you.
- You can write a new will that states it explicitly revokes the prior will, or it can include contradictory terms to the prior will.
When any major life change occurs—marriage, divorce, birth of a child—it is a good idea to update your will. If there are going to be many changes, it is best to revoke the old will and write a new one. If you only want to add minor changes, you can instead write a codicil. A codicil is an amendment you add to the will with the changes, and it must be finalized with the same formalities as a will.
How do I finalize an online will in Michigan?
To finalize a will you make online in Michigan, you want to:
- Print it out.
- Sign it, either in front of two credible witnesses, or
- Acknowledge your signature or the will in front of two witnesses, then
- Have your two witnesses sign it.
To make a will “self-proving” in Michigan, you and your witnesses need to make a sworn statement in front of a notary public. Attach these notarized affidavits to your will.
We recommend USLegalWills to make a will online in Michigan. Comprehensive service at affordable prices, with an option for secure storage and unlimited free updates to your last will and testament. See their pricing and will details here.