We live in a very litigious society. A will that is meant to take the guesswork out of the picture regarding what you want to happen to your estate when you die can become the subject of a costly legal battle.
There are legitimate grounds upon which a will can be contested. One such ground is your testamentary capacity at the time of signing the will. You must be of competent testamentary capacity at the time of signing your will for the document to be considered valid.
But what exactly is testamentary capacity?
Basically, testamentary capacity is the legal term that refers to the testator’s ability to make their will. To create a valid will, you must understand the basic principles that govern the will.
Legally speaking, you must meet the following conditions to be considered mentally competent to create a will:
- You must understand the nature and effect of your will
- You must understand what you own and who you intend to pass it to
- You must understand the nature and terms of your will
- If you are disinheriting someone, you must understand why you are doing so
So what could affect your testamentary capacity?
A common challenge to the testator’s testamentary capacity is the existence of a degenerative condition like dementia. If you are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, for instance, you may not have the ability to make independent decisions about your will.
Besides dementia, claims of insanity and substance abuse can influence your ability to create a valid will.
Challenging a will is usually quite difficult. However, it happens. If you believe your loved one did not have the testamentary capacity to create a valid will, you may consider contesting the document.