A will allows people to make important decisions about their property and their legacy, but in order to do so they must have what is called testamentary capacity. If that capacity is in question, a will may not reflect your loved one’s true wishes.
What is testamentary capacity? If you are uncertain about your loved one’s ability to write a valid will, can you challenge the will?
Do all adults have testamentary capacity?
Generally, the law considers legal adults able to write a will. However, in some cases, an adult’s ability to understand their property and their will enough to make an informed decision. This means that they must recognize:
- What they own
- How much that property is worth
- Who will receive their property after they pass away
- How their property will be distributed according to the guidelines in the will
If a person does not understand these details or other important aspects of their estate plan, their loved ones can challenge their will based on that lack of understanding.
What conditions might limit testamentary capacity?
Many different conditions can limit a person’s ability to make important decisions about the future. Some conditions that can lead to a will challenge include:
- Illnesses like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, migraines or even ADHD that can impact decision-making or cognition
- Addiction to substances that could impair judgement
- Documented confusion, drowsiness or other concerns without a formal diagnosis
If you have concerns about a loved one’s testamentary capacity, challenging their will could protect your inheritance and your loved one’s legacy.