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Contesting A Will Due To Dementia
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Contesting a Will Due to Dementia

The Steps to Overcome

Did you know more than 9 million people are diagnosed with dementia worldwide? The statistics equate to one person every three minutes, the vast percentage being the aging population. If you have ever experienced dementia or know someone who has, you will agree with me that it can be quite a complicated disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, which dramatically affects memory. The effects of dementia can fluctuate as the day progresses. It is common for an individual suffering from dementia to forget day-to-day happenings and historical events. Even so, CAN A PERSON WITH ALZHEIMER CHANGE THEIR WILL?

Read on for an insight into the best ways of CONTESTING A WILL DUE TO DEMENTIA and some key steps you can follow to overcome it. Let’s delve in!

Probate Attorney

Wills and Dementia and Can You Still Sign

A will is a handwritten legal document signed by the deceased with instructions on how their property will be divided amongst the heirs. On the other hand, dementia is a symptom that affects a person’s long-term memory. In advanced stages, the condition can also affect their mental capacity to understand the current.

Because dementia affects the aged, it is possible to have an impact on the person’s final will. However, the situation has “good” and “bad” days. It is not unusual for the person to be better in the morning and worse in the afternoon. It makes it hard for lawyers to find out whether the person has the potential to write a will.

Under the probate code 6100.5 in California, a person is not allowed to make a will if they do not have sufficient mental capacity or mentally competency to understand the following:

· The value and nature of their property

· The Will they are making

· Their living spouse, descendants, or relatives that will be affected by the will

Typically, the will is declared valid if the deceased was in the right mind to understand all the above factors when writing the will. Later incapacity does not affect the validity of the will.

Best Evidence to Contest a Will

Here are some of the best evidence you can check with a lawyer to help you contest a loved one’s will in probate court:

Medical Records

Medical records are perhaps one of the most obvious places to start looking for signs of dementia. Check the medical records thoroughly to help you determine when the deceased was first diagnosed with dementia. Look for references when they appeared confused and whether they had conducted a mental state examination (MMSE test).

Technically, the test examines areas of the brain affecting visual-spatial awareness, recall, and orientation based on questions from the present and past. It also examines the person’s ability to retain, communicate, or weigh information from a specific question.

Normal cognition scores range from 27 to more, and 19 to 24 is a mild cognitive impairment. Scores below 18 indicate the person was suffering from dementia, with less than nine considered severe.

Files from the Deceased’s Lawyer

The deceased was required to contact their attorney before drafting the will. Therefore, you should find copies of the lawyer’s original will and other files. Look for signs of incompetence when writing the will to help you identify issues relating to capacity.

It is also imperative to ask the lawyer if the will was witnessed by a medical expert and a copy of the files indicating that the deceased had the right mental capacity. Even if the step was not taken, it is not certified proof that the will is invalid.

Witness Accounts

It is required for a parent suffering from dementia to have witnesses to prove that they had the capacity when signing the will. Besides, there should be witness accounts from several individuals. It will help provide the fact, especially in cases where witnesses claim different accounts and dates. They should be family and friends who have nothing to gain from the case.

 

Need to Contest a Will?

Can a Person with Dementia Contest a Will?

Yes, people with dementia can contest wills. However, according to the Code of Civil Procedure 372 in California, adults who lack the legal capacity to make decisions must appear in court with a guardian ad litem or conservators as a personal representative. As long as they have the legal capacity to contest the will of the deceased, they have all the right to be present in court.

Conservatorship: What is it

Conservators are appointed through a process known as conservatorship. It is a legal process conducted in court where a responsible person is appointed as a conservator to care for the individual’s personal needs.

On the other hand, a guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the court to represent an individual medically proven to have mental incapacity in a will contest. Whether or not a conservator represents the person, a guardian ad litem can be appointed if the judge finds it to be a necessary step in the case.

How Can an Estate Planning Attorney Help?

One of the best ways to guarantee the success of your real estate planning is to integrate the services of an experienced estate planning attorney. These professionals can provide the proper guidance to individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. They can take suitable precautions to ensure the will is not challenged in court.

Besides, having an estate planning attorney to represent the deceased can make the probate process easier by putting the estate in the best position to defend the case. They can provide proof with video footage, medical documentation, and other evidence.

Contact Us to Hire an Attorney Today!

Contesting a will in court can be daunting, especially if the deceased suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s. The best way to go about the process is to hire the services of an experienced trust litigation attorney. They understand all the aspects required while contesting a will and will ensure you get the best results.

Call or contact our office to schedule a free consultation, and let us ensure your legal issues are handled in the best way possible.

Meet The Team

Contesting A Will Due To Dementia: The Steps To Overcome

“Absolutely top notch firm for handling all your estate planning matters.”

Dean Williams

Client Since 1995

Contesting A Will Due To Dementia: The Steps To Overcome

“Jillyn’s expertise and positive attitude, also wonderful staff. Jillyn’s the best!”

Mary Sipe

Contesting A Will Due To Dementia: The Steps To Overcome

“Jillyn’s knowledge. Always does a terrific job of explaining everything.”

Carol Netta

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ADDRESS

Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC
620 Newport Center Drive Suite 1400
Newport Beach, California, 92660
Office: (949) 706-7300 
Toll Free: (888) 318-4430

Copyright © 2022 Hess-Verdon, PLC. All rights reserved. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The verdicts and settlements listed on this site are intended to be representative of cases handled by Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims. The information contained on this website is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.

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620 Newport Center Drive Suite 1400
Newport Beach, California, 92660
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Copyright © 2022 Hess-Verdon, PLC. All rights reserved. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The verdicts and settlements listed on this site are intended to be representative of cases handled by Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims. The information contained on this website is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.

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620 Newport Center Drive Suite 1400
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Office: (949) 706-7300 
Toll Free: (888) 318-4430

Copyright © 2022 Hess-Verdon, PLC. All rights reserved. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The verdicts and settlements listed on this site are intended to be representative of cases handled by Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims. The information contained on this website is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.

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