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When may someone lack the mental capacity to write a will?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2022 | Estate Litigation |

You, as a family member, should feel confident that a loved one created and signed a will with a clear and lucid mind. Sometimes families suspect that an elderly relative wrote a last will and testament while suffering from mental impairment. This is why some families litigate a will in court.

Policy Genius explains that a person suffering from mental incompetence lacks testamentary capacity. This could serve as grounds for a court to invalidate a will written by the impaired person.

Examples of mental incapacity

Certain disorders can cause someone to have problems discerning reality. Some people experience delusions or hallucinations. Advancing age can also result in senility or cause seniors to suffer dementia. Loss of mental capacity can become more pronounced if a person has Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to old age and disease, the use of alcohol or drugs can degrade brain function. In addition, some people suffer a mental disability after a serious auto accident or a fall. This can happen to younger individuals as well as the elderly.

The issue of lucidity

Even if a family member exhibits mental decline, it does not mean that a court will automatically throw out whatever estate document the relative has written. Some people with mental incapacity can still think clearly and make rational judgments during occasional periods.

The question of whether a relative experienced a period of lucidity at the time he or she wrote a will can add complications to a will contest. It is important to recognize this possibility before proceeding with a legal challenge to the will of a family member.