Signing a will while having dementia does not automatically make a will invalid. In order for a will to be valid, the person signing must have “testamentary capacity,” which means they must understand the implications of what is being signed. Generally, your mother would be considered mentally competent to sign a will if the following criteria are met: She understands the nature and extent of her property, which means she knows what she owns and how much of it; she remembers and understands who her relatives and descendants are and is able to articulate who should inherit her property; she understands what a will is and how it disposes of property; and she understands how all these things relate to each other and come together to form a plan. A qualified elder attorney should determine whether your mother has testamentary capacity to create a will. If she does make a will, the will would not automatically be void. Call me, we offer a free consultation to talk with you about your options.

Glenn Matecun is a partner with the law firm of Matecun, Thomas & Olson, PLC in Howell.  He is an attorney focusing on estate planning, elder law and senior Veterans’ benefits, and answers readers’ questions on legal matters affecting individuals, their families and their businesses.  Listen to Glenn on Senior Law Radio, WMUZ 103.5 FM, every Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Email questions to questions@mtolaw.com, or if your question is urgent, call (517) 548-7400.  Visit us at www.MichiganEstatePlans.com.  The information in this column is not intended as legal advice.

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