Is diminished capacity the same as undue influence?

| May 25, 2021 | Will Disputes |

If you suspect that your loved one didn’t have a valid will when they died, you might think about hiring an attorney in Pennsylvania. You could have a case if you can prove that another individual influenced your loved one to write their will in a certain way. However, you might be surprised to learn that your loved one doesn’t have to be 100% coherent to write a valid will.

Is the will still valid if your loved one had a disease like Alzheimer’s?

Technically, your loved one’s will doesn’t have to be logical. They could leave everything to their neighbor, and the judge would have to honor it as long as the will is valid. This might still apply if your loved one suffers from a disease that impairs their judgment. You might argue that your loved one suffered from diminished capacity, but that doesn’t mean the judge will automatically throw out the will.

To write a legally binding will, your loved one must be aware that they’re writing a will and have a general understanding of their heirs. Other than that, they don’t need to be 100% cognizant to write their estate plans. Even if they don’t remember signing the will, it might still be valid if they knew what they were doing when they signed it. Typically, estate litigation and disputes only come into play when you have evidence that someone influenced your loved one to write their will in a certain way.

What is considered undue influence?

Most judges don’t consider diminished capacity to be undue influence. Instead, undue influence occurs when someone forces, threatens or flatters your loved one so that they alter their will to the person’s liking. You could talk to an attorney if you have reason to believe that your loved one experienced undue influence.