For wills and trusts to be considered legitimate, a person must be in one’s right mindset when drafting and agreeing to the contract. Failure to do so may create tension among family members and cost important assets and property to go into the wrong hands.
Lack of Mental Capacity Lawyers
A lack of mental capacity when drafting or agreeing to a will or trust can be dangerous. When people die, their property must be distributed accordingly. However, court systems are often reluctant to consider complaints about a loved one lacking proper mental capacity when drafting a will. After all, the person is not alive, and therefore unable to attest to the claims.
What Constitutes Mental Incapacity?
There are many factors that may contribute to a person lacking the mental capacity to make sound legal decisions. Generally, a person should be fully aware of:
- The full amount of assets, trusts and property owned
- The nature of the assets (i.e. property, bank accounts, jewelry, etc.)
- Beneficiaries (people and charities who will receive the property)
If a person is mentally unsound when determining these three crucial components of a will, he/she is taking a major risk. You do not have to be insane or disabled to be mentally incapable of drafting a will. In fact, such people are typically able to identify what they own and who they trust to preside over the assets once they are no longer able to.
Most cases of mental incapacity involves the following:
- Undue Influence: Similar to brainwashing, undue influence is the act of persuading a person to do something on fraudulent means or to further one’s own interest. For example, if a family friend isolates an elderly woman from her family, telling her that her children and grandchildren do not care about her, and that she should not bestow any of her assets to them, the elderly woman may be influenced to make an unwarranted decision. This is considered undue influence. If you suspect that similar circumstances caused your loved one to make rash, undesirable decisions regarding his/her assets, an experienced probate lawyer can help you prove such idea in a court of law.
- Intoxication/Drugs: Drugs (including prescription and medication drugs) and alcohol are major contributors of mental incapacity. Blurred vision and drowsiness are often the effect of these intoxications. Even over-the-counter medications like Benadryl, an allergy medication, can cause people to become dizzy and sleepy. This is not an appropriate condition for a person to be in when drafting a will.
What a Florida Probate Attorney Can Do For You
It is very difficult to prove that someone who is no longer alive was not in the right state of mind to make proper decisions regarding his/her assets. That is why you need an experienced probate attorney. Here’s what a Florida probate lawyer can do for you:
- Interview family members, neighbors, friends and associates to determine the extent of relationships.
- Gain evidence and records from medical professionals on your loved one’s health and condition during the time of the will.
- Interview the legal provider who assisted your loved one with his/her will.
- Thoroughly investigate the situation.
- Gather evidence and expert testimony.
- Advocate on behalf of your deceased loved one in court.
- Negotiate to ensure that the estate is distributed to the proper people.
With the help of a probate attorney, you can rest assured that your loved one’s hard work and earnings will not go to waste.
Florida Probate Lawyers
If you suspect that your loved one did not have the proper mental capacity to draft a will, you should contact an experienced Florida probate attorney immediately. At the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, we are experienced in estate, trust and guardianship litigation. We will do everything in our power to protect your loved one’s assets so that he/she may rest in peace.