3 medical conditions that cause will challenges based on capacity

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2022 | Will Contests

Adults have the legal right to create their own will or estate plan under Ohio law. Once someone reaches adulthood, they theoretically have the legal authority to enter into binding contracts and make crucial legal decisions for themselves. 

Sometimes, adults can develop medical conditions that may affect their cognitive function and decision-making ability. In scenarios where someone creates legal documents, like a will, after experiencing cognitive decline, the courts may choose not to uphold those documents due to the person’s lack of capacity

What are some medical conditions that could lead to allegations that someone lacked testamentary capacity when creating an estate plan? 

Alzheimer’s disease

Some people experience major medical issues when they age, and Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most severe conditions affecting older adults. Alzheimer’s disease can undermine someone’s independent living ability and rational thought processes. Someone who created estate documents after a diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease, unless it is in the earliest stages, may not have enforceable documents. 


Numerous medical conditions can lead to dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a medical term for severe cognitive disruptions that limit someone’s ability to understand the world around them. Anyone with dementia will likely need support managing their affairs and be unable to make rational decisions. 

Severe mental health issues

There are dozens of mental health issues, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to schizophrenia, that can impact someone’s ability to rationally manage their own affairs. If someone tried to create legally binding documents while suffering from a medical condition that affected their cognition, you may have grounds to challenge their estate plan because of their lack of testamentary capacity.

Learning more about will contests should help you determine if your family needs to challenge someone’s last wishes in the Ohio probate courts.


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