Knowing when one is competent to create a will

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2016 | Estate Planning |

Whenever disputes arise over the disposition of an estate in Woodland Hills, one of the more common accusations thrown around by those challenging the validity of estate planning documents is that the decedent was not of a sound mind when he or she created them. When clients come to us here at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo with such claims, they usually want to know if the law specifies when one may or may not be competent enough to engage in estate planning. If you have the same question, you may be happy to hear that the answer is yes.

The standards for testator competency can be found in Section 6100.5 of the California Probate Code. They state that in order for you to successfully prove your loved one may not be (or may not have been) of a right mind to make a will, either one of two things must be proven. The first is that is he or she does not (or did not) have the mental capacity to:

  •          Understand the nature of the will or testamentary act
  •          Recall the current status of his or her property
  •          Comprehend the relationship he or she had with those affected by the will

The second scenario that could call into question your family member or friend’s ability to competently draft a will is if he or she is (or was) suffering from some form of mental disorder. That disorder must be proven to cause hallucinations or delusions. Furthermore, you need to also show that had he or she not been suffering such symptoms, he or she would not have made the same decisions detailed in estate planning documents.

More information describing the conditions necessary to draft a will can be found here on our site.


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