Testamentary capacity and will validity during probate

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2021 | Probate Litigation |

People in Minnesota make wills in order to ensure their property is passed on after their death according to their wishes. However, in order for a will to be considered valid during the probate process, it must meet certain standards. This may come under additional scrutiny when there is a dispute about the will among potential heirs. One key issue that arises in determining whether or not a will is valid is testamentary capacity — that is, whether the person who made the will had the mental capacity to do so at that time.

Can you make decisions for yourself?

There is a legal standard governing whether people are capable of making decisions for themselves. In order to be considered capable of making a will, you must know the effect and significance of doing so and understand what property you are distributing. In addition, you also must understand potential claims and expectations by heirs, whether or not you want to provide for them in the will. In addition, you must not have a mental or medical disorder that prevents you from making decisions.

How can you demonstrate testamentary capacity?

If you want to make a will but have an illness that can affect your capacity to make decisions, like dementia or Parkinson’s disease, you have a substance use disorder, or others have expressed concerns about your memory, understanding or stability, you may consider having your will witnessed by a doctor. This may later be important in probate litigation, especially because capacity often depends on your symptoms at a particular day and time.

Making a will is an important way to protect your loved ones and plan for the future. By considering issues of testamentary capacity when making the will, you may be able to prevent or lay a basis for resolving future challenges.