If you believe that your loved one was not of sufficiently sound mind to understand the estate planning and probate process, you are questioning their testamentary capacity.
It is generally difficult to challenge a will, but this is one of the most common reasons for raising concerns about validity.
Understanding testamentary capacity
Testamentary capacity is one’s ability to comprehend what creating and signing a will means, as well as the results and consequences of such an act. Adults aged 18 and older are usually presumed to have the testamentary capacity by default of their age.
The testator, who is the person that created the will, must be able to understand specific things about the estate planning process. These can include the value of property owned, who their beneficiaries are and how their assets get distributed.
Challenging the will
If you believe that your loved one did not have the mental capacity to comprehend these key details, you may be able to challenge the will. If you choose to start litigation on this matter, keep in mind that you must prove the decedent was not of sound mind when they signed their will. Usually, a person’s testamentary capacity comes into question if they had dementia or senility, if they were under the influence of any substances or if they had experienced an injury like head trauma.
Ensuring a testator was capable of legally creating a will is important. The creation of a will requires many important decisions, and these decisions require the testamentary capacity to be properly executed.