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3 crucial elements in proving lack of testamentary capacity in California

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2021 | Estate Litigation |

The death of a loved one often results in a challenging time both emotionally and financially for surviving heirs. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for these individuals to question the validity of a will and other estate planning documents. Common challenges can include undue influence, fraud, forgery or lack of testamentary capacity.

While it might seem like a blanket challenge, successfully arguing the lack of testamentary capacity follows strict provisions. According to the California Probate Code, there are three conditions which can indicate an individual lacks the mental capacity necessary to make a will:

  • The individual does not understand the nature of the testamentary act
  • The individual cannot understand and recollect the nature and situation of his or her property
  • The individual cannot remember and understand relations to living descendants, spouse and parents or any of those whose interests are affected by the will

The lack of metal capacity often seems like a general term that heirs can use to describe the challenges an elderly loved one might face. They might base these allegations on dementia, memory loss or any type of diminished cognitive ability. The law must match specific thresholds, however, to prove an individual lacked the testamentary capacity to draft or revise their will.

Surviving heirs might have concerns about the mental abilities of their elderly loved ones to either create a will or make revisions based on changing scenarios. While lack of testamentary capacity is a common reason to challenge a will, there are specific factors that must be investigated. Do not hesitate to seek experienced legal guidance through these complex situations.