Testamentary capacity

Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1987;15(3):247-56.


Wills are more prone to challenge on the issue of testamentary capacity because, as people live longer, they are more likely to have the kind of conditions that interfere with capacity and because the courts seem to be more apt to hear evidence and allow findings of lack of testamentary capacity than in the past. Therefore, it is incumbent on attorneys to protect the interests of their clients by addressing the issue of testamentary capacity in any case in which a will contest might be anticipated. Ideally, attorneys in such situations should have their clients counsel with a psychiatrist who is knowledgeable and experienced in matters of probate and will contests. Further, the attorney and the client must provide extensive data (of the kind which a jury might ultimately obtain) on which the psychiatrist can base his or her conclusions that the client is of "sound mind."

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Expert Testimony
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Texas
  • United States
  • Wills*