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Lack Of Testamentary Capacity, Diminished Capacity, or Mental Capacity Are Often Made When An Interested Person Claims That The Decedent (Or Grantor) Executed a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Deed or Any Other Related Legal Document at a Time When Such Individual Was Not Mentally Competent.

Since under Alabama law, every person is presumed to be competent, the burden to prove that an individual lacked mental capacity to execute a certain legal document falls on the interested person attacking such execution or conveyance.  However, if the interested person attacking the validity of the legal document, execution thereof or validity of a conveyance shows that the decedent was habitually insane before the subject execution of document, the burden then shifts to those claiming under the conveyance to show that at the time when such legal document was executed, the decedent had requisite testamentary capacity.

In order to render a will, trust, power of attorney, or deed void because of mental incapacity, the test is not simply that the decedent or grantor’s mental powers were impaired.  Instead, the question is whether the decedent or grantor at the very time of signing said document had sufficient testamentary capacity to understand in a reasonable manner the nature and effect of the actions he or she was undertaking.

This includes whether the decedent or grantor was able to:

  • Remember the nature and extent of the property to be conveyed or devised.
  • Recall the desired disposition of said property.
  • Recall the persons to whom he or she wishes to devise or convey such property.
  • Remember those individuals who represent his or her natural heirs, or other heirs who can place a reasonable claim on the estate.
  • Understand the purposes and consequences of the will, trust, power of attorney or deed.
  • State adequate and coherent reasons for the inclusion and exclusion of relations in his or her estate plan.

The estate dispute lawyers at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, PC have successfully litigated cases in Alabama where allegations of mental incompetence were central to the validity of legal documents such as revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and deeds.  Our attorneys have a strong and deep understanding of how to attack and defend will contests and estate and trust litigation cases concerning mental incompetence, and are ready to do the same for you!  Call Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana at (251) 444-7000 or toll free at (855) 390-5566 today and ask for a free consultation.

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Our estate planning and litigation attorneys are some of the most active litigation practitioners in Alabama. Our lawyers have had enormous success in both probate and circuit courts. To schedule a free consultation with our experienced Alabama estate planning attorneys, please contact us.

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