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Hayes Solicitors Limited > What is testamentary capacity?

What is testamentary capacity?

A “testator” means a person who makes a Will. The testator must have “testamentary capacity” to make a Will and this has been defined as follows:-

“ It is essential to the exercise of such a power that a testator shall understand the nature of the act and its effects; shall understand the extent of his property of which he is disposing; shall be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he ought to give effect; and with a view to the latter object, that no disorder of the mind shall poison his affections, pervert his sense of right, or prevent the exercise of his natural faculties…

that no insane delusion shall influence his will in disposing of his property and bring about a disposal of it which, if the mind had been sound, would not have been made.”

Lord Cockburn in Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR5 QB

You may contest a family members Will if the testator lacked testamentary capacity, for example due to:-

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other forms of Dementia
  • Mental illness
  • Confusion

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