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Can someone suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s sign a Will?

– Authored by: Michael L. Rutkowski

The classic answer from an attorney is “it depends.” Millions of individuals suffer from dementia and, unfortunately, less than 50% of the general population has proper estate planning in place. If a loved one suffers from some type of mental disease, it may not be too late to execute documents that put their wishes in place.

In Michigan, in order for an individual to sign a Will, that individual must have sufficient “testamentary capacity.”

Testamentary capacity exists if all of the following requirements are met:

  • The individual has the ability to understand that he or she is providing for the disposition of his or her property after death.
  • The individual has the ability to know the nature and extent of his or her property.
  • The individual knows the natural objects of his or her bounty.
  • The individual has the ability to understand in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of his or her act in signing the Will.

Our job as legal counsel for an individual is to assess mental capacity and, in certain situations, involve a medical professional to verify that capacity standards are met. This assessment is critical particularly in situations where family dynamics are such that a Will contest is likely.

If you have questions regarding the capacity of a loved one, please call our office. We would love to talk to you!

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