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Statute of limitations Will Contest, MI

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#1 Candylee73


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:24 AM

April 26, 2009

First of all, I would like to inquire what is the specific statute of limitations in which to contest a will in the state of Michigan. I am currrently living out of the country and it is therefore difficult to find the answers I need. My mother recently died. Prior to that I was under the understanding by what she told me verbally up to her death and from a prior will that her house was promised to me upon her death. This is the major portion of her estate. However, after she passed away I learned from her attorney that her will had been changed 1 year and 7 months prior to her death. I asked why I was not informed and I was told that "they did not know how to contract me." This is untrue because I visited my mother in her home 4 months prior to her death and on the Christmas holiday prior to that time. The prior will was in force for about 17 years and was amended just after my brother died. Prior to her death her sister-in-law had financial Power of Attorney for my mother, which was unknown to me. The new will made her husband, my mother'sonly surviving brother in charge of the estate and entitled to one-half of everything. I learned that my mother's brain had atrophied or shrunken from her attending doctor who took care of her after she had a massive stroke. She also more than likely had Dementia.  These conditions do not happen overnight.  I feel that when she made her will her thinking was impaired and she did not know what she was doing.  The original will has been introduced into the Probate Court system in Michigan.  What can I do now and how long do I have to challenge this will?  Thank you for your help. It is most appreciated from one American to others from one who is stranded overseas.

#2 Fallen


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:51 AM

You would need to discuss this with an MI estate-probate attorney; I know of none who follow these boards.

Typically, the deadline to contest would be within a matter of months after a will is filed for probate.

"I am currrently living out of the country and it is therefore difficult to find the answers I need."

Being oversees doesn't mean you can't consult an MI estate-probate attorney via the phone, mail, etc.

Mom was free to change her will and she didn't have to inform you of a will change.

"Prior to her death her sister-in-law had financial Power of Attorney for my mother, which was unknown to me."

Not really relevant.

"These conditions do not happen overnight."

True, but unless you can prove she was legally incompetent to make a new will when she did, and that means having expert medical testimony to that effect....   The mental competency threshold isn't as high as most folks think it is.   

Bottom line is you'd need to consult with an estate-probate attorney in MI; contesting a will isn't a good DIY project.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)

#3 knort4


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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:35 AM

If there is documented evidence in writing in your mother's medical records that she had been diagnosed with dementia, this will be a strong factor in your winning a will contest.  What is the value of her estate?  Contesting a will is going to be expensive in legal fees on both sides.  I presume you have already taken steps to hire an attorney to determine if you are going to contest the will, but if you haven't yet taken steps, you should also consider consulting with a family law attorney to see if your state has laws on the books regarding elderly financial abuse AND abuse of power of attorney.  If they do have laws, pursuing a suit against the POA for abuse of POA and elderly financial abuse will be less expensive than contesting the will.  POA is supposed to provide an official accounting of all monies she got to prove she used it to take care of your mother.  If she kept any extra monies for herself, if found guilty she will have to repay the estate.  knort4 Probate Researcher

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