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Mental capacity could play a role in probate litigation

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2021 | Probate/Guardianship Litigation |

The passing of a loved one is a difficult event to process, and the situation can become even more complex if surviving family members believe that the will submitted to the court for probate is not valid. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous parties to submit fraudulent documents or to unduly influence someone into signing a new will. In some cases, probate litigation can result if beneficiaries believe that the decedent did not have the mental capacity to sign the document when it was created.

The requirements for mental capacity in terms of signing a will differ from state to state. As a result, if Texas residents believe that a loved one was not of sound mind when signing his or her will, understanding these requirements is important. It is also important to keep in mind that, even after a diagnosis of certain mentally debilitating illnesses, like dementia, a person could still retain a level of cognizance that allows him or her to sign legal documents including a will, at least for a period of time.

If beneficiaries or other parties with legal standing believe that the testator lacked the necessary mental capacity at the time of signing, they may wish to challenge the document. This legal process involves a court case that often requires witnesses and other evidence to speak to the testator’s level of mental capacity. If others can provide testimony that the person’s cognizance was considerably lacking or that he or she may have been unduly influenced into signing, beneficiaries challenging the will may have a favorable outcome.

Of course, probate litigation is not something to take on lightly. Cases involving will contests can be costly and span years in particularly complicated situations. Texas residents considering this legal option may want to ensure that they are ready to put in the time and resources necessary. In efforts to determine whether this step may be right for them, they may find it useful to gain an assessment of their concerns from legal professionals.