Few medical conditions are more heart-wrenching than dementia. After all, if your father has Alzheimer’s disease or another progressive neurological condition, he may forget who you are. Hopefully, your dad wrote a comprehensive estate plan before he lost his mental acuity.
If your father had dementia when he wrote his will, though, it may not reflect his genuine wishes. Moreover, if someone was trying to gain an unfair advantage, your dad’s will may also leave you with less than your fair share of inheritance.
Lack of capacity
For a will to pass legal muster, the person who drafts it must have legal capacity. Just as with other neurological disorders, dementia may cause your father to lose the legal capacity Massachusetts law requires. Therefore, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Had your father forgotten the names of loved ones before writing his will?
- How far had your dad’s dementia progressed when he wrote his will?
- Was your father able to complete everyday tasks when he was writing his will?
Even if your father had the requisite legal capacity when he created his will, he may have been a victim of undue influence. Undue influence happens when a caregiver or someone else takes advantage of your dad. This often leads to the undue influencer supplanting his or her interests over those of your father.
You may have more than one way to attack the validity of your dad’s will. Ultimately, though, if the will does not make much sense to you, contesting it may be the most effective way to protect your father’s interests.