Does dementia void a will?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2020 | Probate Litigation

Challenges to a person’s mental capacity are common in a will, especially in contentious families. Many people don’t have an adequate will at the time of their physical decline. For people with dementia, writing a will with the help of family members can raise issues related to lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence. 

Family contention leading to a contested will

In a family with disputing relatives, there is a higher likelihood of a contested will. A loved one with dementia will have to prove mental competency by having ‘testamentary capacity.’ Here are the criteria that need to be met for a person with dementia to form and sign a valid will:

  1. That person understands what constitutes their property.
  2. That person can distinguish who their relatives and descendants are.
  3. That person can decide who of those relatives and descendants should inherit property.
  4. That person knows what a will is and how it generally works with regards to distributing property after death.
  5. The person can combine all of these facets to understand the overall process of forming an estate plan.

Exceptions to the probate process in Ohio

There are a few examples that bypass the probate process and are less susceptible to probate litigation, as is the case when a person leaves an estate to a living spouse in its entirety (for estates less than $100,000) or if the deceased person’s assets are less than $35,000.  

Honoring your loved one’s wishes

If any of these criteria are questionable, then this opens up a will to be contested. If you believe that a relative’s will was unduly influenced or compromised by mental capacity, you need a skilled probate litigation attorney to make sure your relative’s intentions are honored.


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