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For Estate Planning, Estate Administration And Disputes

How Alzheimer’s can become an issue in estate planning

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Estate Planning |

If an estate plan isn’t carefully created, it can be subjected to legal challenges after the testator has passed away. These challenges can take time to resolve, leaving heirs and beneficiaries waiting for what is rightfully theirs, and the litigation involved can prove costly to the estate.

In addition, the fighting involved could devastate existing family relationships. These circumstances are often seen when one individual believes that a will or other estate planning document should be deemed invalid because the testator suffered from a serious mental health condition like Alzheimer’s.

How Alzheimer’s can affect estate planning

Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that causes brain cells to shrink and die. As a result, sufferers experience memory issues and can struggle to complete daily tasks.

When it comes to estate planning, an individual with Alzheimer’s may forget to include a family member in estate planning documentation, or they might not even be aware of how their estate plan documentation disposes of their assets. These issues can leave the estate plan susceptible to legal attack.

Can someone with Alzheimer’s create a legally valid estate plan?

Yes, but extra care has to be given to the process. For a will or other estate planning document to be legally valid, its creator must possess the requisite mental capacity. This means that they understand the nature and extent of their estate, to whom they are leaving them, and how their estate plan coalesces to dispose of their estate.

For someone with Alzheimer’s to create a legally enforceable estate plan, it’s helpful to have evidence that shows mental clarity at the time that estate plan documentation was executed. Additional witnesses at the documents’ signing can be helpful, as can a recent medical opinion that speaks to the testator’s mental condition. Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s may even want to give some assets to those they expect to challenge the estate, as acceptance of those gifts could constitute an acknowledgment that the testator has sufficient mental capacity.

Is Alzheimer’s at play in your estate plan or probate litigation?

If so, you must know how to navigate the complexities of the issues before you. Otherwise, you or your estate could be subjected to a poor outcome that can have tremendous ramifications for those you care about. So, take the time needed to educate yourself on estate planning and probate litigation so that you can take the steps necessary to protect your interests.