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How does testamentary capacity influence the validity of a will?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2021 | Probate & Estate Litigation |

There are specific requirements that wills must meet to be valid in the state of Georgia. One of those requirements is that the individual who drafts and executes the will has testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity focuses on an individual’s ability to understand certain elements of their wills function and format. This post will discuss how a lack of testamentary capacity may influence the validity of an otherwise properly executed will. This post provides information only in to not be read as legal advice.

The purpose of testamentary capacity

Individuals who execute wills must have testamentary capacity to prevent abuse and coercion from happening during the will drafting and execution processes. For example, if a person who did not understand what would happen with their property at the time of their death signed a will enriching an unscrupulous person who unduly influenced them, they may not have their true intentions honored.

Litigating a will due to testamentary capacity issues

Without testamentary capacity, a person cannot sign and execute their will. The document may be deemed invalid, and the contents of the will may not be honored during the probate process. When an individual suspects that a will was executed by a person lacking testamentary capacity, they can choose to litigate their claims to prove their case.

Challenging a will based on testamentary capacity can require evidence and strong legal knowledge of the probate process in Georgia. Before taking on such an endeavor, many individuals choose to consult with trusted estate planning and probate attorneys to understand their rights and responsibilities. Not every claim of diminished capacity or lacking testamentary capacity will be successful, but individuals can protect their interests by understanding as much as they can before the process begins with the help of trusted legal advisors.