Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan

Q: Regarding last will & testament - person's name.

What kind of problems present itself in probate court if the LW&T states John Joe versus John H. Joe or John Harry Joe? Should i request that John's lawyer re-do the LW&T to include middle initial or middle name?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: It is VERY unlikely to cause issues. Usually there is something else in the will that will clarify any 'ambiguities' (e.g. "My Wife Jane Joe", and "my children John Joe Jr and Billie Jo Joe-Harris" are identified in the will) which would make the identity of the testator clear.

If that person didn't typically use a middle name in business affairs, omitting it from the will is common. If the person typically only used an initial, again, that is how the will would be written. The FULL name could be important if there are likely to be identity issues (Think George Foreman who famously named all his kids "George" and appended cardinal numbers to them.)

Is there likely to be a problem? Clarify it. If not, it is unlikely to matter

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

Trent Harris and Brent T. Geers agree with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

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