top of page

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.


bottom of page