Being diagnosed with dementia is life changing and it can often cause people to shift their focus to preparing for a time where they are no longer around or unable to make their own decisions. However, a dementia diagnosis does not instantly mean that someone cannot say who their money and their possessions should go to when they pass away. What it is dependent on is whether they are able to understand sufficiently and make their own decisions on their Will.
If someone wants to make a Will, they have to have ‘testamentary capacity’ which is a legal term that means that they have sufficient understand of certain aspects of their estate and the Will writing process.
This will include understanding what making a Will means and the effect that it will have for their estate and their chosen beneficiaries. They should also understand what assets they own and what assets they may have in the future.
Another thing that needs understanding is who might expect to be named in the Will and why they are inheriting or not inheriting as the case may be.
You Might Need Medical Evidence
As long as someone understands what they are doing and has the ability to make these big decisions then it is completely possible to make a Will. However, there is a possibility that the Will can be disputed at a later date, especially by anyone who has not been chosen to inherit. Fortunately there are things that can be done to ensure these claims can be defended and that any complications or doubts can be dealt with efficiently.
The courts follow a ‘golden rule’ whereby, if someone has dementia or any other condition that might prevent them from making a Will, it can help to have medical evidence of their capacity at the time of making their Will. This evidence will then be available should a Will be contested as it will indicate that the individual is more than capable of making their own decisions at the time of writing their Will.
If you’ve received a recent diagnosis it is important to act now to get your estate planning in order and ensure that the Will writer keeps medical evidence on their file to show that you have the capacity to make decisions for yourself so it can be referred to in the future.