In California, estate planning is a crucial aspect of full preparedness. The most basic type of estate plan is a will. People might think they understand the fundamentals of wills, but there is nuance that can be complicated and confusing, calling the document into question after the testator has died. Competency is sometimes in dispute. The state has certain requirements for the testator to be deemed competent to make a will. Understanding these tenets is imperative to make sure that the document is legal. If there is a problem with a person’s competency, there may be strategies to address that and ensure they are protected.
Competency and creating a will
Anyone who is at least 18 can make a will, but competency is separate from age. According to state law, there are certain requirements for a person to be competent. The person must have the mental capacity to understand the act itself and what it means; will understand and remember the property distribution and what it entails; and understand and remember the relations with family members and anyone else who might be impacted by the document.
Those who have been diagnosed as having a mental health disorder in which they are deluded or experience hallucinations may not have the competence to create a legal will. These issues resulting in the person distributing their property in a way that would not happen if they were not deluded or experiencing hallucinations can nullify that person’s ability to draft a will. Evidence can be presented to show that the person is either competent or not or has a mental health disorder.
Legal assistance may be critical when competency is in question
Simply having a mental health issue does not automatically mean a person cannot create a will. Still, the law is clear as to how competency is addressed if a person with these challenges wants to move forward with estate planning. For a person who is concerned about this and is unsure of what to do, having legal assistance may be critical. Consulting with a firm that is experienced with wills and other areas of estate planning may be helpful.