Determining Capacity


In order to execute a will, the person signing it, known as the testator, must have the required level of capacity for the will to be declared valid. The threshold for a valid will is low, but each of the three elements for capacity is necessary as it will fail if even one element is not present.


Significance of Act:


For a will to be valid, the testator must understand what they are signing and why. If a testator does not comprehend the significance of their act, they do not have the minimum amount of understanding necessary for the act to be valid.


Objects of Bounty:


To execute a valid will, the testator must understand who is in their family. While the testator does not need to know their whole family tree, they do need to have a sufficient understanding of their closest family members who would generally be entitled to their estate if they died without a will.


Composition of Estate:


A testator does not need to know their net worth to the penny. They do need to know the general composition of their estate, whether they are a prince or a pauper.


While the standard for capacity to create a will is low, capacity is only one of the legal claims available when you believe a will or trust may be invalid. Speak to a qualified probate litigation attorney to learn about options that may be available in your particular matter.


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