Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

Can a will created by an Alzheimer’s sufferer be valid?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | probate administration

When a loved one passes away, you’ll turn to their estate planning documents to determine how their estate should be distributed. In many cases, that’s a straightforward matter. But if your loved one suffered from a mental health condition like Alzheimer’s, then questions could arise as to the validity of key estate planning vehicles, including your loved one’s will.

Can a will created by someone with Alzheimer’s be legally valid?

It depends on the circumstances. It’s important to note that Alzheimer’s sufferers can experience periods of lucidity, so if their will is created during this time, then there’s a good chance that it’s valid and binding. That’s why witnesses are crucial in the estate planning process and as well as to the determination of validity during the probate process.

How is validity determined?

If the validity of your loved one’s will comes into dispute, the probate court is going to analyze a number of factors. This includes:

  • The testator’s ability to understand the nature and extent of their estate.
  • The testator’s ability to understand to whom they are leaving their assets.
  • The testator’s ability to understand how their estate plan deals with their assets.
  • The testator’s ability to understand how all of these things coalesce into an estate plan.

Even an Alzheimer’s sufferer can meet these requirements at certain times, and when they do, they’ll be deemed to possess adequate testamentary capacity.

However, when testamentary capacity is at issue, there’ll often be testimony about your loved one’s mental state leading up to the execution of key estate documents and at the time of those document’s creation and signing. There may even be expert testimony about how Alzheimer’s impacts mental cognition.

Do you need help dealing with your probate issue?

If you’re facing probate issues, including those related to testamentary capacity, then you need an understanding of the law and how it applies to your set of circumstances. Only then can you go into your dispute knowing that you’ve done everything you can to protect your interests in the matter.