How Do You Prove Mental Capacity to Sign a Will?

Our Oakland Probate Litigation Attorney Discusses Evidence in Contested Will Cases

In this video, Oakland probate litigation lawyer Charles Triay reviews evidence in will contest cases. In a lack of capacity or undue influence case, the mindset and mental capacity of the decedent at the time of the will or trust signing is of paramount importance. Contact our probate litigators by phone or through our online form for more information.

Video Transcription

So the question is how do you prove whether someone had the legal mental capacity to sign a will or a trust. That is a combination of a lot of different factors. We want to look at their medical records. We want to talk to the people who were there. We want to know what they said previously. Sometimes people will have said for years about what their plan is. Then if the document is consistent with that, that leads you to believe that they knew what they doing.

Surprisingly there is no hard and fast way to prove that. Even attorneys when they’re having someone sign a will often don’t go through the ritual of telling what day of the week it is, telling you who the President is. They just hold a normal conversation. Hi, how are you? How are you feeling? How’s this weather? That really doesn’t help us much. Once in while the attorney or the family member will get a formal neurological assessment done before the document is signed. But that’s rare; we don’t see that very often.

I’m Charles Triay with the Triay Law Office. If you need help with a contested inheritance case please call me at (510) 463-3165.