According to NHS research, 850,000 people in the United Kingdom have dementia. This figure is anticipated to rise as a consequence of the growing number of individuals living longer. In light of this information, many people with dementia will want to handle their legal issues connected with the creation of their Will.
Making a Will when you have dementia
If a person is not of sound mind when creating their Will, it may be possible to challenge it. It does not automatically render a Will invalid if someone has dementia or suffers from any other mental illness while making their Will.
To be able to write a Will, an individual must first have the necessary understanding of the following:
- The fact that they are creating a Will and its consequences.
- The claims of those who might expect to be left something in the Will.
- The extent of their property and assets.
- They must not suffer any delusion of the mind which influences how they may deal with disposing of their property, i.e. leaving legacies in their Will which they would not have made had they been of sound mind.
Someone with dementia can satisfy these criteria. It is not the person’s general health, which includes dementia, that determines whether or not they qualify; rather, it is their cognitive understanding at a specific moment in time that matters.
Is it possible to challenge a Will produced by someone with dementia?
It would be necessary for someone seeking to challenge a Will to produce medical proof that the person making it did not have the capacity.
If a Will is declared invalid, it will be replaced with any previously written Will. If no existing Will can be found, the Intestacy Rules apply. The Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Act establishes intestacy rules. They look at family ties to determine who gets what. Family connections are not considered when determining inheritance rights.
When putting a Will together, a good solicitor or Will writer will evaluate if medical thought regarding the Will maker’s mental competence should be obtained before the Will is finalised.
The practitioner should also describe how they determined the Will maker’s capacity to ensure that the Will is more robust and less vulnerable to attack.
If a Will is challenged in court, all of the evidence, medical and otherwise, will be thoroughly investigated, so it’s important to work with an experienced Will writer and expert throughout this process.
What if a family member with dementia wants to make a Will?
If you have a family member with dementia or another mental illness and want to make a Will, or if you feel that the capacity of a loved one was limited when their Will was created, or if you’re an executor of a Will being challenged, it’s important to hire a solicitor with expertise to assist you and your family throughout the complex procedure.
If you have any more questions surrounding contesting of a Will or Will writing, You can contact the contesting a Will team at Myerson Solicitors, who can support you through complex cases.