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What is testamentary capacity?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | ESTATE PLANNING - Wills

When facing the loss of a loved one, the surviving family members and relatives are often responsible for tying up loose ends concerning the deceased’s personal affairs. In this instance, a will can help guide them on what to do and how to proceed according to the deceased’s wishes. However, this document must meet specific requirements to be enforceable, such as the testator having testamentary capacity when they created it.

Factors affecting testamentary capacity

Having testamentary capacity means that the testator was competent to draft a will when they did it. This condition includes possessing a resolve to decide and write a will, allowing the testator to express what they want to happen with their properties after their death. Additionally, the testator must have drafted the will out of their free will without having someone else pressure them into doing so.

External conditions during the will’s creation may also impact whether the testator had testamentary capacity. If another party forced or coerced them into writing the will, the misrepresentation or inappropriate influence can make the document invalid. Other details surrounding the will’s creation can also affect its validity, potentially causing disputes after the testator’s death.

Creating an enforceable estate plan

If you plan to draft a will, it may be beneficial to make intensive preparations to protect its enforceability. Aside from creating the document, it can be helpful to seek legal guidance, allowing you to learn more about estate planning tools that fit your needs. An effective estate plan might not guarantee the desired outcome, but it could help keep your surviving family members from arguing over your estate after your death.