Whether or not you have significant assets, you probably have some idea of how you want your property distributed among your heirs. Michigan state law is very specific about the elements that make a will valid. At Robert D. Paulbeck, Attorney at Law, we often counsel clients about drafting wills that meet their needs and those of their families.

What does it take to make a valid will? The Michigan Legislative Council explains that first of all, a valid will has to be in writing. When you think of writing a will, you may think of filling out legal forms or typing up a document. These are both ways of writing a will. However, in Michigan, you may also write out your will by hand.

A handwritten will is also known as a holographic will, and these are not legal in every state. Holographic wills do not have the same requirements as traditionally drafted Michigan wills because they do not require two witness signatures in order to be valid.

Your signature is one of the most important components of the will because this must match the handwriting of the document’s significant sections. Just like any other Michigan will, a holographic will has to include the date that you signed it.

Keep in mind that because so much rests on the evidence that your signature and handwriting match, it may be desirable to have witnesses present if you choose to create a holographic will. This may be even more important if you suspect that portions of your will may be controversial and cause conflict between your heirs that may lead to a will contest and legal disputes.

More information about creating a will and other estate planning documents is available on our webpage.