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Testamentary capacity: what is it and why does it matter?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Estate planning

A will is a crucial estate planning tool that lets you decide who will inherit your assets when you die. If you die without a will, Kentucky intestacy laws will determine what happens to your hard-earned assets. And you may not like this.

However, in order for your will to be implemented, it has to comply with Kentucky wills laws. This means that, alongside the other requirements, you must have the testamentary capacity to create a will. Without this, someone might challenge your will’s validity and throw your wishes into disarray.

Understanding testamentary capacity

You must be of sound mind to create a valid will. Testamentary capacity is the threshold test that proves your mental competence to create a will that reflects your wishes.

According to Kentucky estate planning laws, any person above the age of 18 is presumed to be mentally competent to create a will. However, if you display a mental issue that impacts your decision-making ability (such as a degenerative disease like dementia), then your ability to create a will can be questioned.

So how is testamentary capacity determined?

First, it is important to understand that you can temporarily lose your testamentary capacity. An example of this would be when you are under medication that impairs your cognitive faculties.

Thus, your testamentary capacity is only scrutinized at the time of creating and signing the will. That said, here are three key requirements that will be used to assess your testamentary capacity to create a valid will:

  • Your ability to understand the nature and effects of your will
  • Your ability to identify and understand the extent of the property you include in your will
  • Your ability to identify your beneficiaries

A valid will can give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones’ futures are secured. Find out how you can create a will that will stand the test of time and potential court battles.