A Will Must Be Signed, Right?

Dickinson Wright

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.   

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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