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Can you create an estate plan if you have Alzheimer’s?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Estate Planning

For an estate plan to be legally valid, the testator, meaning the individual creating the estate plan and leaving assets to named beneficiaries, must possess sufficient testamentary capacity. This means they must understand the nature and extent of their assets, to whom they’re leaving those assets, and how these two things come together cohesively to form an estate plan.

Of course, issues can arise when a testator suffers from a mental health condition like Alzheimer’s or dementia. This, in turn, can result in probate litigation that proves costly to the estate and familial relationships.

Yes. However, the facts surrounding the execution of estate plan documents is key to the ultimate determination. So, if you want to increase the chances that your estate plan will be deemed legally valid, then you might want to consider doing the following:

  • Visiting your doctor shortly before executing your estate plan so they can provide an opinion on your mental capacity.
  • Having plenty of witnesses present at the execution of your estate plan documentation so they can speak to your mental clarity at the time.
  • Gifting assets to those you expect to challenge your testamentary capacity, since their acceptance of the gift is an acknowledgement that you have enough mental wherewithal to determine how your assets should be distributed.

Remember, your mental clarity and soundness of mind at the time of document execution will be scrutinized. So, anything you can do to show that you understand the nature of your estate plan will be helpful to you cause later.

Protect yourself and your estate throughout the estate planning process

An improperly drafted estate plan can create a lot of issues. That’s why you have to be diligent when you create your plan. Don’t be afraid to seek answers to any questions you have, as that’s the only way to ensure that you’re making the fully informed decisions that are right for you.

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