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Monday, September 21, 2020

Disinheriting a Family Member in Michigan

Changes in circumstances sometimes require the removal of a family member from an estate planning document, such as a will or trust. However, in order to disinherit a family member, specific legal requirements must be met. If done incorrectly, an attempt to remove a family member from an estate planning document can result in a legal challenge. Below is an overview of how to disinherit a family member in Michigan. For additional information, please contact a Michigan estate planning attorney.

Disinheriting a Spouse

In Michigan, it is difficult to disinherit a spouse, as one’s spouse is entitled to an elective share of his or her husband or wife’s estate. Therefore, even a valid will that contains language that purports to disinherit a spouse will likely be ineffective. However, a married couple may enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage that allows for disinheritance, but it must meet certain legal requirements to be effective. Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a Michigan estate planning attorney before attempting to disinherit a spouse via a prenuptial agreement in Michigan.

Disinheriting a Child

A parent may disinherit an adult child in Michigan. Under what is called the “exempt allowance” provision, a parent may exclude an adult child who is not a dependent from making a claim to receive property from his or her estate. Specifically, a parent may disinherit an adult child in Michigan if:

  • He or she by will expressly states either that his or her child shall receive nothing or receive an amount of $10.00 or less from the estate, or
  • He or she by will states that his or her child is not to receive exempt property.

Disinheriting Other Family Members

It is possible to disinherit other family members from a will in Michigan. However, this can lead to legal challenges, especially when family members who expected to inherit property are excluded. This makes it particularly important to consult with a Michigan estate planning attorney prior to disinheriting a family member in Michigan. There are several methods by which family members can challenge a will. Common claims family members assert to challenge a will include:

  • The testator lacked mental capacity when the will was executed,
  • The testator was under the undue influence of another when the will was executed, and
  • The will wasn't properly executed.

Contact a Michigan Estate Planning Attorney

If you need assistance with an estate planning matter in Michigan, you should contact a Michigan estate planning attorney for assistance. A Michigan estate planning attorney can assist you with all aspects of estate planning, including disinheriting a family member, drafting a will, choosing an executor, or simply beginning the estate planning process. If you’re ready to begin planning for your future, please contact one of our knowledgeable and experienced Michigan attorneys for a consultation.


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