Life and financial situations can change quickly and without expectation. Certain conditions could make updating your will a smart idea. However, the unpredictability of life can mean that you wish to make changes to your will down the road.
Certain conditions, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, are more likely to occur later in life. Suppose you’ve been diagnosed with a disease that diminishes your mental capacity. In that case, you may be wondering if updating your will is no longer an option.
Proving testamentary capacity
A will can be contested on the grounds of a lack of testamentary capacity. Suppose the testator (person making the will) did not have the mental ability to understand aspects of the estate or changes being made. In that case, the will could be contested as not being valid.
People with Alzheimer’s will likely have moments of cognitive impairment in which they wouldn’t be able to make such changes to a will. However, there are also periods of lucid understanding where making a change could be appropriate. Still, some things can be done to help show cognitive ability, such as:
- Having the testator verbalize their knowledge of the estate in front of witnesses
- Having disinterested witnesses participate
- Medical documentation of mental competency
- Having video evidence at the time of update
While you can’t predict when an update to your will might be warranted, protecting your decision to update is essential. Certain medical diagnoses might make it more challenging to update a will, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Professional estate planning
If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may still have the right to make changes to your will for some time. Learning more about estate planning can help protect your will from being contested after completing an update.