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Testamentary capacity and how it impacts estate planning

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2021 | Estate Planning and Probate

Estate plans are important for the future. Although Alabama residents may not want to think about what will happen to their property and assets when they die, they should know that through estate planning they can take control of those outcomes and ensure that their preferences are respected. Devices like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney can help survivors sort out the wishes of individuals who have passed away after creating their estate plans.

A properly executed estate plan can be a hard thing to legally invalidate, but one factor can complicate the validity of executed a state plan documents like wills. That factor is testamentary capacity, and this post will attempt to explain it to its readers. Individuals who have questions about testamentary capacity are reminded this post does not provide legal advice and their trusted estate planning lawyers can answer their questions based on the laws of the state.

A general definition

Testamentary capacity has to do with the understanding a person has about what their will and estate plan will accomplish. A person must understand what they have put into their estate planning documents, and they must understand what will happen to their assets and property when they die. If a person lacks the capacity to express this type of understanding, they may lack testamentary capacity and therefore the ability to prepare an execute their own estate plan.

Why testamentary capacity matters

Testamentary capacity matters because it protects men and women who are incapable of making estate planning decisions from duress, force, and wrongful persuasion. An individual who cannot comprehend estate planning concepts may be manipulated into making testamentary decisions that benefit unscrupulous individuals. When evidence of lacking testamentary capacity exists after a person’s death, estate planning documents can be challenged based on testamentary capacity.

Testamentary capacity is important to estate planning. When questions about testamentary capacity arise, it is important that individuals seek trusted counsel from knowledgeable estate planning lawyers.