Is a will valid if made in a different state and residences is wrong?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is a will valid if made in a different state and residences is wrong?

My father passed February 2016 he was here in
Michigan visiting my grandmother took him to
get a will made then he passed. Yet the will
said he was a resident of Michigan when in
fact he has been living in California for
over thirty years now. What do i do?

Asked on March 25, 2016 under Estate Planning, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a will which was made in and is valid in state A will be enforced by states B, C, D, etc. Every state is obligated to honor other state's wills.
However, if there is an error in a will, it *could*--depending on the will and the surrounding circumstances--lead the will to be questioned or invalidiated. Generally, an error in describing where someone lives is not fatal to a will, since it does not go to the core provisions (who gets what, etc.). But if the error casts doubt on the validity of the will--e.g. did your father actually make it or review it? If he did, was he in mentally compentent at the time? Did someone else falsify or modify the will? Etc.--in those cases, there could be a problem. Probably, if no one challenges it, there won't be an issue--courts don't go out of their way to question wills that the interested parties have no problem with; but if someone who might otherwise have inherited or inherited more challenges the will, they could try to use this as evidence that there was something improper in how it was made.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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