In order to find a will valid in British Columbia, a court must be satisfied that the will-maker had the requisite mental capacity to draft its contents. Mental capacity has specific legal meaning. It does not simply mean being free of cognitive disorder; it also means having a full and complete understanding of what a will is and what it is used for. If mental capacity was lacking in the will-maker, interested parties can challenge the will in court.
Laughlin & Company Lawyers Mediators have experienced Port Coquitlam trial lawyers with a significant history of litigation and a comprehensive estates practice. Our team members are committed to offering clients — who may fall on either side of mental incapacity litigation — the strongest representation possible. To this end, we draw upon our extensive knowledge and network of medical professionals that can shed light on the evidence presented in these cases.
Lack Of Testamentary Capacity
Mental incapacity can be claimed in a number of circumstances. The will-maker may have been living with a cognitive condition, such as dementia, which affected his or her capacity to make rational judgments. In addition, a will challenge on the basis of mental incapacity could claim any of the following:
- The will-maker did not understand that he or she was drafting a document that would dispose of his or her property upon death (i.e., that he or she was making a will).
- The will-maker did not know what property he or she owned.
- The will-maker did not know who his or her beneficiaries were or who would be expected to inherit.
Contesting a will due to mental incapacity is difficult for families who may have to advance detailed information about their family member and his or her cognitive state. At Laughlin & Company, we are sensitive to the emotional strain families may be under as they try to establish a fair resolution to a will dispute. We work closely with our clients to understand their full objectives and do our best to achieve them.
Claiming Undue Influence
Even if an individual had the mental capacity to execute a will, he or she may have been unduly influenced to write the will in a certain way. If this is the case, the will does not, in fact, reflect the will-maker’s genuine intention. Beneficiaries or interested parties sometimes make claims to varying the will on this basis. At Laughlin & Company, we can discuss your family’s circumstances and advise on your legal options.
To learn more about contesting a will in British Columbia on the basis of undue influence or mental incapacity, contact our legal team for a consultation. You can make an appointment by calling the lawyer local area at 604-239-0800 or getting in touch online. Laughlin & Company serves the Lower Mainland, including the Tri-Cities communities of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, and Port Moody.