What is a Will?

Wills are legal documents created to ensure that your estate is taken care of after you pass away. While this may seem like a daunting project, planning for the future is one of the most important steps you can take in order to protect your assets and earnings. You don’t have to go through this process alone; at Collis, Griffor & Hendra, our experienced Michigan estate planning attorneys can guide you the whole way through. Contact Collis, Griffor & Hendra today to start.

Who can create a will?

In Washtenaw County, Michigan, anyone 18 years of age or older can create a will as long as they have sufficient mental capacity. Sufficient mental capacity means that the person creating the will:

  • Understand that a will determines how their assets will be distributed upon their death
  • Know what property they own
  • Know who their close relatives are (i.e. spouse and/or children)
  • Have a general understanding of what they are signing

What is a statutory will?

This type of will is only permitted to be used by Michigan residents. This method of will creation is based on a fill-in-the-blanks format that aims to streamline the will preparation process. A statutory will is only valid after being signed by yourself and two additional witnesses. Typically, statutory wills are beneficial to those who do not have many assets or those who have a complicated family situation. With that being said, people that have a lot of assets, such as valuable property and/or a complicated family situation should have their will created by an experienced attorney. However, even with statutory wills, it is encouraged that they too are looked over by a legal team.

What can I do with a statutory will?

Although the creation of a statutory will is easier, it is more limiting than a will created by an attorney. Statutory wills often limit how your property can be distributed. A statutory will allows you to name a guardian for any minor children, make cash gives to one or two people or charities, distribute your assets to anyone you choose and distribute the rest of your property to your spouse or children.

These are some things that a statutory will does not allow you to do:

  • Make cash gifts to more than two people or charities
  • After cash gifts and personal items have been distributed, you cannot leave your remaining assets to any non-family member
  • Make changes to the way the remainder of your property is distributed to your family
  • Transfer the title of any of your joint assets

Contact our Firm

Sometimes, divorce, family, and estate matters are difficult to navigate. Fortunately, they do not have to be with the assistance of a compassionate, knowledgeable attorney who is willing to guide you every step of the way. If you need a seasoned firm to help you with any divorce, family, or estate-related matter, please do not hesitate to contact Collis, Griffor & Hendra today to schedule a consultation.

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