Several posts on this California estate planning blog have discussed the requirements that individuals must meet in order to prepare a legally enforceable will. One of those requirements is that the creator of the will was of sound mind when the document was executed. There are several ways in which a person may be determined to not be of sound mind and this post will address those situations. As with all of the posts offered herein, the information provided in the remainder of this article should not be construed as legal advice.
The capacity of an individual to remember and understand is at the heart of their mental soundness. If a person does not understand what it means to make a will then they are likely not of sound mind to do so. Also, if they do not recognize how their testamentary actions will impact their heirs and loved ones then their power to make a will may be nullified due to their lack of mental soundness.
Certain mental disorders may preclude individuals from making wills. Particularly when those individuals are afflicted with hallucinations or delusions, their power to make a will is eliminated due to the issues with their mental soundness. This post makes no claims to establish certain medical conditions as automatic bars to will creation, and readers who suffer from these disorders should consult with medical professionals for evaluation.
A person may only create a will when their mental fortitude is of such health that they are aware of what they are doing, they understand the possible repercussions of their actions and they remember their testamentary purposes. When these capacities are lacking a person may not be able to create their own will-based plan for the disposition of their estate.