Ensuring that You Were “Of Sound Mind” When You Prepared Your Will

Last Will & Testament

One of the essential requirements of a valid will is that the person executing it must have been “of sound mind” when the document was signed and put into effect. Because many people wait until their declining years to prepare and execute a will, it’s not uncommon that there will be concerns about the mental capacity of the testator (person making the will).

Determining Whether a Person Had the Legal Capacity to Execute a Will

Generally in order to have the capacity to execute a last will and testament, the person executing the last will and testament, must: (1) know the natural objects of his/her bounty, (2) know their assets and (3) understand how the last will and testament disposes of their property.

When legal capacity is challenged expert witnesses are often called upon to testify. Additionally, the Court may hear testimony regarding the observations of family members, caretakers, friends, neighbors and others.

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