How is it determined if a person is competent enough to sign a Will?

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How is it determined if a person is competent enough to sign a Will?

My aunt is dying in the hospital, had wanted to change the executrix of her Will before this happened, and certain family members are planning to do this tomorrow with her. She is on medication and goes in and out of lucidity. A suspect sister is wielding way too much influence and opinion on her and I am afraid that she will cause her to do something drastic. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your Aunt and yur family situation.  The attorney changing the Will should be present, correct?  He or she has to make a determination as to whether or not your Aunt is "of sound mind" to make changes to her Will.  Generally, courts will use various factors to determine that issue such as if she knows "the objects of her bounty" - those that would inherit, etc. If you believe that she is not competant to make such changes then be there and voice your opinion so that it can be heard by all.  Otherwise, you will need to make this challenge later when the Will is offered for probate. Good luck. 


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