Drafting A Will – Can A Person With Dementia Write Their Will?

Death is one such topic that no one likes to talk or even think about, particularly if it’s their own. But, if you do not take up the decision of making a Will to list the ways in which your entire wealth must be distributed when you are still alive, then you could possibly leave mountains of issues and hardships for your loved ones.

Perhaps, like others, you feel awed or terrified by the process it entails – or is it the expense that puts you off?

Despite all of it, the truth is the process involved in making a Will (if you’re new to the process, it’s recommended to use a  simple Will template) could be quite easy and won’t burn a hole in your pocket provided you to take its major drawbacks into consideration.

However, there are certain situations where you might face a few issues. One such situation is assisting a parent or loved one who is diagnosed with dementia. Of course, it’s not going to be a walk in the park when helping them plan for the future, but it’s absolutely necessary.

You would’ve heard the phrase “Time waits for none”. Well, that applies here; in simple words, the more time is wasted after the person is being diagnosed with dementia, the less time is left for them to partake in the Will planning process.

Now you might ask if it is possible for a person with dementia to draft their own Will. The answer is, “Yes, they can!” but only if certain criteria are met.

Before going through the different criteria, let’s take a look what Dementia actually is and its signs.

What Is Dementia And What Are Its Signs?
Dementia is a term which explains an array of signs that have an effect on your brain, including issues like memory loss, mood changes, difficulty in thinking or problem-solving and, communication and reasoning.
It is caused when your brain is damaged due to diseases such as Alzheimer or series of stroke. The condition is usually progressive meaning it’ll become more evident after a period of time or more severe. Over time, the signs could get worse!

Is It Possible For Someone With Dementia To Write A Will?
No one can tell when dementia might change or impact their lives and most of them don’t have their affairs sorted when diagnosed with the disease. But hey, thank the stars for you might still have time to make a Will and other estate plans with your family members before you run out of time!

If you’ve been diagnosed with dementia and think that you can’t draft your Will, then let us tell you that’s not the case. You still can, provided you’re meeting certain criteria and are believed to have the mental capacity to do so.

Put simply, you should be able to understand what a Will means and the importance of signing it. But bear in mind, the standards for capacity differ from one state to another.

On a general note, you’ll be considered to mentally competent to draft a Will, if you meet the following criteria:
•       You comprehend the extent and nature of your estate, meaning you’re aware of what and how much you own.
•       You comprehend and remember your loved ones and ancestors, and can make it clear as to who must inherit your estate.
•       You comprehend what a Will is and how it’d dispose of your estate.
•       You comprehend how all these things are interrelated and form a plan.

What Makes A Will Drafted By A Person With Dementia Valid?
There are mountains of formal necessities that must be executed to make sure the Will is valid, which mainly includes the “testamentary capacity”.

Testamentary capacity means the person diagnosed with dementia has the mental and legal capacity to draft or make changes to their Will. Generally, this decision will be made by the person’s lawyer assisting them to make one and they might require getting hold of medical advice to confirm it.

Apart from all of this, by making a Will, the person will get an opportunity to consider other lawful aspects as well as help plan for their future. This could entail an advance decision about their future care and treatment and can decide on who will make important decisions for them once they no longer can.

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