A lot of estate plans either pass through the probate process without issue, or they skip the process altogether. But sometimes complicated issues arise in the probate process that can have significant implications for those involved. This is especially true when the validity of an individual’s will is drawn into question. Depending on the outcome of one of these disputes, you could be left without the inheritance that you deserve and that your loved one intended.
There are many ways that a will can be contested, too. Undue influence is a common argument, but so, too, is lack of testamentary capacity. If you’re facing an issue with the validity of a will, then you need to know both of these aspects and how to appropriately address them. This week let’s briefly look at testamentary capacity.
What constitutes testamentary capacity?
A will is only valid if the individual who created it had the proper mental state, or capacity, to do so. To have testamentary capacity, the will’s creator typically must know the nature and extent of his or her property and understand what the contents of his or her will does with that property. This means that a will’s creator should be able to articulate his or her plan and what property is affected by that plan.
Signs that an individual lacks testamentary capacity
There might be several indicators that an individual lacks testamentary capacity. Amongst them are evidence of dementia, delusions, and other mental disorders. That’s not to say that an individual who has one of these conditions lacks the requisite mental capacity to make a will. It simply means that those who suffer from memory and comprehension problems may be more likely to lack testamentary capacity. This is why speaking to the deceased individual’s doctor may prove beneficial and provide valuable insight.
Protect your interests during the probate process
Dealing with probate issues can be stressful. That’s why it’s imperative that you understand the law and how it applies to your circumstances. Perhaps then you can protect your interests and what your loved one intended for his or her assets.