Grounds for invalidating a will

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If, however, having seen the testator’s medical records and spoken to close family members, it is established that the testator has a history of mental illness/confusion or memory loss, it will be for those persons seeking to rely on the document to establish capacity (see Vaughan v Vaughan [2005]).

For example, if an executor named in such a will is insistent that the will is valid, it will be for the executor to prove that the testator had the necessary testamentary capacity.

The question as to whether a person has the relevant mental capacity is a factual question which is often determined by medical evidence.

However, the evidence of close friends and family is also relevant and a person can be found to be lacking mental capacity based upon their evidence alone.

Understand the nature of the act and its effects The law does not call for a perfectly balanced mind.

Just because a person making a will was moved by “frivolous, mean or even bad motives” will not make a will invalid.

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This article concentrates on contesting a will due to mental capacity.A person is entitled to disinherit his children for reasons of spite without such wishes being challenged on the grounds of mental capacity.This is obviously subject to the individual having “sound mind, memory and understanding” at the time the will was made.Even if the medical records are not supportive of a claim concerning mental capacity, if there are witnesses confirming the individual lacked such capacity, it may be possible to contest a will.Implications Where a will is successfully disputed and the court confirms the will is invalid, if there is not an earlier valid will, then the testator’s estate will be distributed according to the intestacy rules.

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