If you are the executor of a deceased person’s estate, the process that guides the administration of the estate is probate. As an executor, you have many duties to fulfill during the probate process. One of your primary responsibilities is proving in court that the will is valid.

Every state has its own rules that determine a will’s validity. The decedent’s will must meet the requirements set forth in Michigan state law.

Requirements for a valid will

According to the Michigan Legislature, the testator, i.e., the person making out the will, must sign the written document for it to be valid. If the testator is unable to do so, someone else may sign at his or her direction and in his or her conscious presence. In other words, the testator must be alert and aware of what is going on.

Two other individuals must witness the signing of the will or the testator’s acknowledgment of it. These witnesses must also sign it. The witnesses do not necessarily have to sign the will at the same time the testator does, but this should take place within a reasonable period thereafter.

Exceptions to the requirements

Michigan recognizes the validity of a will that the testator writes out by hand, also known as a holographic will. There is no need for witnesses to sign a holographic will, but the testator must sign and date it. It is not necessary that all portions of a holographic will appear in the testator’s handwriting, but the material portions must appear written out by hand by the testator. The material portions of a will include the appointment of the executor and the disposition of property.