Trusted Southern Ohio Attorneys

How to avoid an estate challenged based on mental capacity

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Estate Planning

A lot of families in Ohio don’t do a great job of talking about their estate plans prior to death. As a result, some individuals are shocked when they learn that they’ve been cut out of a loved one’s estate plan or that they’ve been left less than they expected. If you want to avoid that from happening to your estate, then you should be sure to address testamentary capacity in your estate plan.

How can you demonstrate appropriate mental capacity when creating your estate plan?

If you or a loved one suffers from a health condition that negatively impacts memory and cognition, then you’re probably worried about how a legally binding and effective estate plan can be created. Fortunately, even those who suffer from conditions like Alzheimer’s can create a legally binding estate plan so long as they had mental clarity at the time the plan was created and executed. Here are some ways to support a showing that the requisite testamentary capacity existed:

  • Visit the doctor shortly before signing off on estate planning documents so that a medical professional can attest to mental functioning at the time.
  • Give a gift to someone who is anticipated to challenge the estate, since their acceptance of the gift will be an acknowledgement of mental capacity.
  • Have plenty of witnesses present during the execution of estate planning documentation so that they can testify, if needed, to mental state in existence at the time.
  • Record the creation of estate planning documents so that demeanor is clearly captured.

Build the legally valid estate plan you need and want

Although estate planning can seem straightforward and simple, it can be fraught with nuances that, if improperly handled, can jeopardize the viability of your plan. So, make sure you have a full understanding of how to protect your interests throughout the process so that you can make the decisions that are right for you, your estate, and your loved ones.