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Monday, September 9, 2019

Can I Disinherit My Family Member in Michigan?

Due to changes in circumstances, it sometimes becomes necessary to remove a family member from a will, trust, or other estate planning document. However, in order to do so, certain legal protocols must be followed. When done incorrectly, an attempt to disinherit a relative can result in a legal challenge. Therefore, if you would like to disinherit a family member in Michigan, please review the information below and contact a Michigan estate planning attorney for additional guidance. 


In Michigan, a spouse can claim an elective share of his or her husband or wife’s estate, which makes it very difficult to disinherit a spouse. Therefore, if the language is present in a will that clearly states a desire to leave a spouse nothing, it will probably not have any effect. However, two parties may enter into a prenuptial agreement allowing for disinheritance, but it must be properly drafted to be legally effective. Therefore, it is possible to disinherit a spouse in Michigan under certain circumstances, but it is advisable to seek legal counsel before attempting to do so. 


It is possible to disinherit an adult child in Michigan. Specifically, due to recent statutory changes, a person may exclude an adult child from his or her will who is not dependent on making a claim to receive property from his or her estate under what is called the “exempt allowance” provision. However, in order to disinherit an adult child pursuant to this allowance, specific language must be used. Therefore, anyone who seeks to disinherit an adult child should seek the assistance of a Michigan estate planning attorney.   

Other Family Members

It is generally permissible to disinherit other family members from a will in Michigan. However, when certain family members expect to inherit property and don’t, they may decide to contest the will in court. There are several methods that disgruntled family members can use to challenge a will. For example, a common method is to claim that the testator didn't have mental capacity when the will was executed. 

Another is to claim that the testator was under the undue influence of another at the time the will was made. In addition, family members sometimes claim that a will wasn't properly executed. Due to these potential challenges, it's important to confer with a Michigan estate planning attorney prior to disinheriting a family member. 

Contact Our Michigan Estate Planning Attorney Today  

If you need to disinherit a family member in Michigan, you need an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney on your side. In addition, a Michigan estate planning attorney can assist you with all aspects of estate planning, including drafting a will, choosing an executor, or simply beginning the estate planning process. If you’d like to begin planning for your future, please contact one of our experienced Michigan attorneys for a consultation

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