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What does it mean to have a sound mind when making a will?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2019 | Estate Planning

It is important that Virginia residents understand the importance of creating estate plans that meet their needs and fulfill their testamentary desires. One of the most foundational estate planning documents that individuals may choose to execute is a will. To legally create a will in Virginia, a person must meet several important requirements, one of which is to be of “sound mind.”

To be of sound mind, a person must generally understand what will occur when they execute their will. They must understand that they are making and signing a will and that, through it, they are deciding how to distribute their assets and property when they die. Additionally, to be of sound mind, a person must know what is in their estate and the value of the items contained therein.

If a person is not of sound mind when they execute their will, then that will may be challenged after the decedent’s death. A successful challenge based on the capacity of a person may lead to having some or all of a will set aside and a determination by the courts that a decedent’s will does not reflect their intentions and desires.

Whenever a Virginia resident plans to create or update a will, they should consult with an attorney who works in estate planning law. The laws and rules surrounding this important process can change and it is advisable for individuals to always seek the best possible information before executing legal documents. This post does not contain legal advice and should not be relied on as such by its readers.