When a loved one passes away and leaves a child or other presumed heir out of the will, it can feel like a betrayal. Even if the child had been estranged from the family or in a disagreement with the deceased, he or she may still feel entitled to a share of the estate. When the deceased, or the “testator,” simply omits the child from the will without explanation, it may leave a family confused and uncertain. Is probate litigation the right move?

Not everyone can contest a will in Michigan. However, those who are eligible, typically children, parents and spouses, may want to think carefully before undertaking something as challenging and uncertain as a will contest. The first question one must decide is whether it is worth the time and money to file a lawsuit to claim the inheritance. A meager estate with little to divide may not justify going to court, but if significant assets are at risk, a contest may be in order.

The challenge is proving that the one who wrote the will did not intend to omit the person, was coerced into disinheriting the child or that the will is a fraud. Obtaining a copy of the will is a good start for someone planning to file a protest. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff, and he or she should not expect the battle to be easy.

Time is of the essence when planning to contest a will. Probate litigation can involve delicate and difficult factors. It is wise to have capable and experienced legal assistance from a Michigan attorney.