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Determining lack of capacity when disputing a will

When there is a dispute over a person's will, one of the questions may be if he or she had the capacity to make decisions or changes to that document. It's not always easy to challenge a will, but if a person can prove that a lack of capacity played a role in a person's decision making before death, then he or she could have a solid case in court.

When determining if a loved one lacked capacity, it's vital to look into medical records. Typically, functional assessments look into a patient's needs along with his or her physical and mental health. As people age, it's common to see them struggle with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

How is a lack of capacity identified?

A person's mental capacity is his or her ability to make rational decisions and to understand, manipulate and appreciate information. People with a lack of capacity may struggle with analyzing information, anticipating the consequences of their actions, anticipating problems or prioritizing important activities.

These actions are all affected in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, so being able to show that your loved one was affected could lead the courts to overturning changes made to his or her will after the date the lack of capacity was discovered.

Are there stages of Alzheimer's disease or dementia in which a person can still make decisions?

Once a person has a diagnosis of a form of dementia, his or her ability to make decisions is immediately questioned. By the end of the early stages of dementia, the individual may need assistance performing daily tasks adequately and could need supervision for safety. Along with poor reading comprehension and memory loss, this is the point when most would agree that the person's ability to make decisions has been hindered.

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