Mental capacity issues do not in themselves mean loss of capacity to make a will

A recent court case has reminded us that issues with the mental capacity of someone who makes a will do not necessarily mean that such person does not have the knowledge and approval necessary to have the “testamentary capacity” to make a valid will.

The will of Doris Harris was attacked because it was clear that at the time that she made the will she had suffered from dementia, confusion, forgetfulness, aggression, memory loss and delusions. However the judge held that these facts in themselves did not necessarily show a lack of understanding sufficient to fall below the necessary threshold for testamentary capacity. 

Looking at the evidence the judge was satisfied that Mrs Harris has retained the understanding necessary to make a will, that she did read it and understood its terms and that she knew and approved of its contents.

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