Testamentary Capacity

A will is an estate planning tool that allows you to determine who will inherit your estate when you die. With a valid will in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that your hard-earned assets will go to the right people and causes when you die.

For your will to be valid, however, it must satisfy certain requirements. One of these is the concept of testamentary capacity. But what exactly is testamentary capacity and how can you assert it?

Understanding the testamentary capacity to sign a will

Basically, testamentary capacity refers to the testator’s mental ability to create and execute their will. For your will to be valid, you must be of sound mind and comprehension at the time of creating and signing the document. This means that you should:

  • Know and understand the implications of creating a will. In other words, you need to understand that the document you are creating is legally binding and will be used to dispose of your assets upon your death.
  • Be aware of and understand the nature and extent of your assets.
  • Ascertain the extent of your family and anyone you may be obligated to include in your will such as individuals who are financially dependent on you.

Generally, it is assumed that you have the testamentary capacity to create a will unless there is evidence to the contrary. Such evidence may include a diagnosis of a degenerative condition like dementia that renders you incapable of grasping the elements mentioned above.

Asserting your testamentary capacity

The only way you can assert your testamentary capacity is to establish proof that you were indeed of sound mind at the time you created your will. One approach you can take is to append a medical report that clearly states that you were mentally competent to write and sign a will.

A will dispute can sow a lasting seed of discord amongst your beneficiaries. Find out how proper legal guidance can help you create a will that will stand the test of probate. Call us or contact us today for your free initial consultation.

Andre L. Pennington attributes his passion and success as an Arizona estate planning lawyer and licensed financial professional to one thing: wanting to do what’s right for his Family.