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Certifying mental capacity to make a will

20 April 2015

Having your will professionally drafted is the best way to avoid it being contested or declared ‘void’ on the grounds of lack of mental capacity.

For elderly or unwell people, it can be particularly reassuring to know that once you have made your will it cannot be challenged by disgruntled relatives. Problems could occur if your relatives feel that they have been unfairly left out of your will or not received their fair share.

Donations to charities can be a catalyst for legal action, especially if your relatives view it as uncharacteristic. They might question your judgement, arguing that you did not have sufficient mental capacity to make the will or were coerced into making it. To make a valid will you must have testamentary capacity, which means that you understand what you are doing, and have two witnesses to your signature
on the will.

Suffering from a mental disability or the early stages of mental illness such as Alzheimer’s does not necessarily mean that you do not have mental capacity to make a will. Your solicitor can obtain evidence from your GP to confirm that you have testamentary capacity and will store this alongside your will until it is needed. If some of the provisions in your will are likely to be unpopular to family members, it can be advisable to leave a ‘letter of wishes’

For advice on updating your will from Myers & Co Solicitors, based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, contact our wills and probate solicitor Susan Hall by calling 01782 525001 or email susan.hall@myerssolicitors.co.uk.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only.  They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

 
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Susan Hall

DDI: 01782 525001

E: susan.hall@myerssolicitors.co.uk



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