Testamentary Capacity: Is It Ever Too Late To Plan Your Estate?
There never seems to be an opportune time to plan your estate. It is, however, essential to protect yourself and your family. Planning your estate must be done when you are physically and psychologically capable of making important decisions. One essential requirement is testamentary capacity.
For years, Hollywood has portrayed the glamorized deathbed estate plan – the elderly protagonist gives away his worldly possessions with his dying breath. As people age, their mental faculties often deteriorate; at least 5 million of Americans aged 65 or older are afflicted with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive impairments.
If a person is aware of the extent of his or her property and the natural beneficiaries thereof, he or she has testamentary capacity, even if he or she has been diagnosed with a cognitive impairment. If someone lacks testamentary capacity, he or she would not be able to legally sign his or her estate planning documents.
It’s natural to postpone planning for the unknown. Unfortunately, there comes a time in everyone’s life, whether it is incapacity or death, beyond which there is no second chance to express your wishes and estate planning is no longer an option.
Estate planning is not required, but it facilitates the transfer of wealth to the next generation. If you are interested in planning your estate, we at The Becker Law Firm would be happy to help you.