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What is testamentary capacity in the execution of a will?

Jun 21, 2021 | Estate Planning

A will is a powerful testamentary document that can provide insightful and important information on the wishes of an individual who has passed away. In particular, a will can outline how a deceased person wants their property distributed and to whom guardianship of their minor children should be assigned. In Michigan, wills are reserved for individuals have reached the age of maturity and must be executed in writing.

Another important element that a will creator is required to possess is testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity refers to the ability of a person to understand what their will says an what will happen when it is executed after their death. This post does not provide readers with any legal guidance, but all readers with questions about executing wills in Michigan can contact their trust in estate planning lawyers for help.

Understanding testamentary capacity and its importance

As stated, testamentary capacity has to do with whether a person understands the contents and outcomes of their will. Many individuals who suffer from mental illnesses and defects may not have sufficient testamentary capacity to execute valid wills. The law protects individuals who have limited capacity to understand estate planning matters so that they cannot be unduly influenced, coerced, or forced to create wills that are against their interests.

Will contests are a common reason that estates are held up in probate. Questions regarding the testamentary capacity of will creators is a reason that contests may develop within Michigan families. It is therefore important that a person has two witnesses, and their signatures, to attest to their capacity when they choose to execute their will.

Ensuring compliance with Michigan laws

Estate planning is a delicate balance between protecting an individual’s financial standing and ensuring that their end-of-life goals are met. Aside from testamentary capacity, there are important requirements that wills and other testamentary documents must fulfill in order to be considered valid. Readers who are ready to draft and execute or update their estate plans may contact their trusted estate planning attorneys for advice and support.