Dementia can affect many people when they reach their elder years, and the unfortunate reality is that the majority don’t have an estate plan in place before the symptoms present themselves. When dementia and other illnesses set in, that is often when the elderly begin to start their estate planning, but the question remains for many families – is a will signed by someone with dementia valid?
The answer is a little greyer than just a simple yes or no. However, in order to create a valid will in Texas, you need to have a basic understanding of who your family is, what your assets are, and how you want to divide those assets upon your death. Whether or not a person with dementia has the capability to understand these things will obviously vary from case to case and person to person. In these cases, it is much better to have a qualified attorney meet with the person, interview them, and determine whether the attorney thinks that they have the capacity to create a valid Will. If so, the attorney should keep notes in his file that support his belief as to the person’s capacity.
However, this is not fool-proof. If the family is dissatisfied with the distribution of a Will, they may still be able to press the matter in court. In this event, the Will may be found invalid after extensive testimony on the testator’s mental state at the time, and a previous Will may be reinstated. However, if no previous Will exists, it will then return to the intestacy laws that can result in significant fees and loss of portions of the estate so that no one in the family will get it.
This is why it is so important to make sure that you have an estate plan in place before the symptoms of dementia set in. Drafting a Will after dementia will not only cause arguments among heirs, but it can cause a significant loss of funds to court fees and the state if it is argued over. If you are looking to craft an estate plan, contact us today.