If you made a will in another state and move to Michigan (especially since USA Today named East Grand Rapids the best place to live in Michigan!), you may be wondering if your estate plan is valid in your new home.  Fortunately, the team at the Law Office of Kari Santana has over a decade of experience helping families like yours craft estate plans. In this blog, we outline the wills valid in Michigan and how to get help creating a valid Michigan will.

Keep reading to learn more!

Your Will Must Be Valid in Your Home State for it to Be Valid in Michigan

If you have a valid will in your home state, it will be valid in whatever state you move to—if it’s a type of will recognized by your new state. So, if you tell someone your last wishes (an oral will) in North Carolina and then move to Michigan, that will is not valid because oral wills are not accepted in Michigan.

Each state has its own set of laws saying what wills are valid and accepted, so it’s important to follow those guidelines not only so your wishes can be carried out at home, but if you move as well.

What Types of Wills Are Valid in Michigan?

Michigan has strict rules about which types of wills are valid. If you just moved to Michigan or live here already and need to create an estate plan, these are the only valid types of wills you can make:

Formal Will

Formal wills are one of the most common types of estate plan. These documents must be signed by the person making the will (the testator) and at least two witnesses.

Statutory Will

Statutory wills are essentially a will template in which the person making the will simply fills in the blanks.

Holographic Will

Holographic wills are handwritten and signed by the person making the will. They don’t need to be signed by any witnesses, but they should be dated, and all instructions need to be in the testator’s handwriting to be valid and enforceable.

Self-Proved Will

A self-proved will is one written and signed by you in front of a notary. You also need two witnesses who will sign a sworn statement that you made and signed the will. The sworn statement releases your witnesses from coming to probate court to testify, which can often be a tedious process.

Writing Intended as a Will

If you create a separate document that modifies or adds on to your current will, this document could still be valid and be treated as if updates were compliant with the law. This only takes place as long as it’s clear the writing is intended to be a will, a renovation of the will, an addition or alteration, or a partial or complete change to who is listed as a benefactor in the will.

Nuncupative, or oral wills, aren’t accepted in Michigan.

If you need to update your will after moving or any other big life change, don’t hesitate to contact a local West Michigan attorney for help and guidance.

RELATED: Michigan Estate Planning Basics: Everything You Need to Know

When to Work With an Estate Planning Attorney

Your estate plan is one of the most important documents you’ll ever create; it’s important to get it right, no matter where you live. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to create ineffective, not legally valid, or confusing documents that don’t protect your assets or last wishes.

If you spend time in multiple states, just moved your complex estate, or have a specific interest you need to protect, don’t wait to create your will on your own.

In addition, do-it-yourself will options like statutory or holographic wills might seem like a good option that saves the writer time and money. However, in many cases, the money in your estate is spent in probate in an attempt to interpret or contest your writing, rather than passing on to the people and causes you care about most. If you have a will that you made yourself, it’s time to consider creating a legally sounds option with the help of an attorney.

When you don’t work with an experienced West Michigan estate planning attorney, you risk your will not being legally accurate, hard to understand, or even disputable. Creating your will and estate plan with an experienced attorney helps protect your last wishes, your family after your death, and your most important assets.

Protect Your Last Wishes With the Help of the Law Office of Kari Santana

At the Law Office of Kari Santana, we have over a decade of experience helping West Michigan individuals and families protect their legacy through personalized estate planning. If you have questions about creating a will in Michigan, whether you’ve lived here for two weeks or your entire life, the Law Office of Kari Santana is happy to help.

To get started, all you have to do is give our office a call at (616) 717-5759 or fill out our quick and easy consultation form below. We look forward to speaking with you!


AccessKent. (2020). Probate Court. Retrieved from https://www.accesskent.com/Courts/Probate/wills.htm

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.