The Michigan Court of Appeals recently had to consider whether a Will that was never signed was still enforceable. On November 10, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed with Wayne County Probate Court (who had rejected the unsigned Will) and sent the case back to Probate for more evidence.
The deceased person had visited his attorney shortly before his death to draft a new Will. The Will was prepared but the deceased died before he could sign it. After his death, one of his children asked the court to enforce the unsigned Will.
The Court of Appeals held that an unsigned document can be treated as if it had been signed IF there is clear and convincing evidence that the deceased intended the document to be his Will.
Since there were not any Michigan cases that had decided this issue in the past, the Court of Appeals turned to a similar New Jersey case to see how it was handled. Interestingly, the New Jersey court had thrown out the unsigned Will because it was a "rough draft" and there was no evidence that the deceased person intended it as her Will. However, in this Michigan case, it was ruled that there was sufficient evidence to accept the unsigned Will was binding.
Both of these cases provide good reasons why estate planning should not be left to the last minute and should be completed with extreme care by a professional.