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What does it mean to be of “sound mind” when planning a will?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2019 | Estate Planning |

Executing a will is an important legal process that can alter the way a person’s estate and assets are distributed when they pass away. Because of this, some beneficiaries may be greatly enriched by a loved one’s estate plan. Similarly, some who feel as though they should have benefitted from a loved one’s will may discover that they were left out.

In New Jersey, there are several important requirements that must be fulfilled in order for wills to be considered valid. First, individuals must be adults to execute wills. Once a person reaches the age of 18 that person may create and sign their own testamentary document for the purposes of distributing their end of life estate.

Second, people must be of “sound mind when they execute their will. This requirement may be confusing for some, but it is rather straightforward. Individuals must be able to understand what their will is going to accomplish when it is executed and what property will be involved when it is distributed before they may sign off on their will. Individuals who suffer from mental disabilities or who have degenerative diseases, like dementia, may not be able to execute their wills if they are unable to recognize and understand the basic elements of their estate planning documents.

The soundness of mind requirement is in place to protect individuals from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who would seek to enrich themselves through another person’s passing. It is important for New Jersey residents to get the right information about estate planning.