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Getting your will right: An important legal document

Most people know that creating a will is a normal part of growing older. You start to collect assets, so it only makes sense that you'd want to create a will to protect those assets and state who should receive them upon your death.

A will, also known as your Last Will and Testament, is a document that declares the heirs to your estate, names the person who will be in charge of disposition and assures the integrity of the disposition. This can be an iron-clad document if you're careful, but you have to be cautious of questions of testamentary capacity.

What is your testamentary capacity?

Testamentary capacity just means that you have the mental capacity to understand and execute a will. If you develop a condition such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia and develop your will after that point, it is extremely important to make sure your attorney has information on your testamentary capacity at that time. A doctor, for instance, can give a notice that you are of sound mind and able to make the decisions you're placing in writing.

Why do you need to prove testamentary capacity?

If you don't, someone could challenge your will. If they thoroughly convince a judge that you lacked testamentary capacity, then your will could be changed in a way that allows that party to obtain an asset or power they otherwise would not have had. That's why it is so important to make sure others know you've signed a will while you are fully capable of making such an important decision.

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