In order to make a valid will, it is crucial that you satisfy certain legal requirements. One of these is the testamentary capacity to sign the will. Basically, this means that you need to be of sound mind, memory and understanding at the time of signing your will. A lack of testamentary capacity can be a valid ground for contesting your will.
While testamentary capacity often conjures an image of an aged individual, this is not always the case. Reduced mental ability can happen to anyone and it can be temporary or long-term. So how is testamentary capacity evaluated?
Understanding Testamentary Capacity
Per Washington wills laws, anyone above 18 is legally capable of signing a will. The presumption is that, unless proven otherwise, you are fully capable of making important life decisions independently. Here are two questions that can help you ascertain your testamentary capacity to sign a will:
Do You Understand The Purpose And Effect Of Your Will?
A will is a legal document that you use to distribute your assets to your heirs. As such, you need to understand that any provision outlined in the document is critical and should, thus, be made after careful consideration.
Can You Comprehend The Extent Of Your Estate As Well As Your Beneficiaries?
It is important that you understand the extent of what you own, what you can include in your will and why you are distributing your assets in a particular manner. And if you are disinheriting a beneficiary, it is equally important that you understand why you are doing so.
Protect Your Interests
Testamentary capacity isn’t just a hollow legal term. It is one of the most important requirements for drafting and signing your will. Learning more about estate planning can help you protect your interests — and your family’s interests — while executing your will.