Alzheimer’s is a heartbreaking disease that can be extremely challenging—both for the patient and for their family members. When caring for a parent or a relative with Alzheimer’s, families often come face-to-face with serious legal questions, including whether a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can legally change their will.

changing a will for someone with Alzheimer's

So, can a person with Alzheimer’s change their will? Below, we provide clarity on this sensitive issue, offering guidance on testamentary capacity testing and advice for you and your family as you handle this complex situation.

Understanding Alzheimer’s and Legal Capacity

Alzheimer’s disease progressively impairs cognitive functions, which impacts a person’s ability to make informed decisions. The legal capacity to change a will, which is called “testamentary capacity,” hinges on a person’s mental state at the time of the amendment.

Key Legal Requirements for Testamentary Capacity

For a will amendment to be legally valid, a person must demonstrate:

  • Understanding of the Act: Comprehension that they are creating or changing a will and its effect
  • Recognition of Assets: Awareness of the nature and extent of their property
  • Identification of Beneficiaries: Understanding of who should inherit the assets
  • Appreciation of Decisions: Insight into the consequences of their decisions regarding the distribution of their estate

Alzheimer’s Poses Challenges for Testamentary Capacity Testing

Alzheimer’s symptoms often go up and down with moments of clarity interspersed with confusion. This variability complicates assessments of testamentary capacity, as it must be established at the exact time of the will’s modification. Ultimately, the answer to the question, “Can a person with Alzheimer’s change their will?” depends on the outcome of testing, which can be unpredictable.

Alzheimer’s and Changing a Will

The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s doesn’t automatically preclude someone from changing their will. The critical factor is always the person’s testamentary capacity at the time of making the change.

Importance of Timely Assessment

Testamentary capacity testing should happen as soon after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis as possible. This helps in understanding a person’s ability to make informed decisions about their will.

Legal and Medical Collaboration

Legal and medical professionals often collaborate to determine the capacity of a person with Alzheimer’s, ensuring that any decision to change a will is made with full understanding and consent. An attorney and healthcare providers can help you make the right decision regarding a change in a loved one’s will.

Testamentary Capacity Testing for Individuals with Alzheimer’s

In conducting Alzheimer’s legal competency evaluations, mental health professionals assess cognitive functions such as memory, reasoning, and communication abilities. This thorough analysis ensures that any amendments to the will are legally recognized and truly reflect the individual’s wishes.

At Crownview, we support families by offering testamentary capacity testing at our San Diego offices. Our team of qualified professionals provides comprehensive evaluations that align with the legal requirements and provide peace of mind for families during these important decisions.

How To Protect Any Changes in an Estate Dispute

Protecting changes made to a will by a person with Alzheimer’s in the event of an estate dispute helps you honor a loved one’s wishes and keep in step with the law. Here are steps to consider:

Documenting the Assessment Process

Make sure that you thoroughly document all steps taken during the testamentary capacity assessment. This includes detailed notes from the evaluating professionals about the individual’s cognitive state and understanding of the changes they are making to their will.

Legal Witnessing and Documentation

Having the will change witnessed and documented by legal professionals provides additional protection. This helps demonstrate that the person was aware and consenting to the changes made.

Consistent Communication with Family Members

Keeping open and transparent communication with all family members reduces the likelihood of arguments. When everyone stays informed and involved, the process of amending the will goes much smoother.

Crownview Medical Group: Your Partner in Testamentary Capacity Testing

Can someone with Alzheimer’s change their will? In some cases, yes, with the right testamentary capacity test results.

Our professional testamentary capacity testing provides peace of mind for individuals with Alzheimer’s and their families at our top-rated San Diego facility. Our team of experts performs compassionate and comprehensive evaluations, helping your family during this difficult journey. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with our testamentary capacity testing services.

CALL US AT (619) 435-5400