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Written By: Larry Miller, Jr. | March 30, 2017 | No Comments

The Process of Determining Person is Unfit to Create a Will

Berks County Wills Attorneys Larry Miller, Jr.

I have the experience you need to guide you through the legal process and emotional stress of determining if a loved one is unfit to create or change a Will.

Trying to decide whether a person is unfit to create a will can be an extremely

  • delicate;
  • emotional;
  • uncomfortable; and
  • very tricky.

To create this determination, you will likely need the help of experts such as

  • psychologists;
  • psychiatrists, and
  • doctors.

Measures used to determine a person’s fitness to create a will include

  • Testamentary Capacity, and
  • Delusions

Factors Used to Determine If Person Is Unfit to Create a Will

Testamentary Capacity

This term refers to someone’s ability or inability to both comprehend and execute either an estate plan or a will.

In general, anyone over the age of 18 who has ordinary intelligence will be considered competent to create a will. The person must be able to

  • understand what they are making;
  • correctly determine the property to be distributed; and
  • finally, accurately identify the people they will name in the will.

In most cases, these are straightforward criteria to meet. However, if a person is found to be mentally deficient, it may be determined that he or she does not have the testamentary capacity needed to create a will. It is critical to note, however, that just because someone is ill or living in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, that does not mean he or she cannot create a will.

There is, however, a chance that someone can challenge the will if the creator was in ill health when they created the will.


Sometimes the person making out a will is suffering from paranoid delusions. They create the will relying on beliefs not based in reality.

An heir who the will has excluded may challenge the will and try to show the “testator,” or the creator of the will was having delusions. If that can be proven, there is a high likelihood the will is going to be declared invalid.

Alzheimer’s and Dimensia

People with Alzheimer’s or dementia could also be declared unfit.

Brainwashed by Friend or Family

A will is sometimes challenged based on a belief that a friend or family member unduly influenced, or even “brainwashed,” a person who then makes changes to their will. The challenger is not necessarily saying the testator did not have the mental capacity to create the will.

Instead, the challenger alleges that others influenced the testator using dubious means. For example, the challenger may claim the influencer had the will changed by

  • threatening to withhold care, or
  • applying pressure in some other way.

You Won’t Find Better Wills Attorneys in Reading, PA and Berks County to Help You Determine If a Person Is Unfit to Make a Will

Wills under the best of circumstances can be complicated. However, a Will involving a person that may be unfit to create a will are even more complicated. You need our expert Wills Lawyers to help you make the tough decisions. Here’s why.


  • have 40 years’ experience helping people in Berks County around Reading, PA with Wills;
  • have experience and know what to do in cases involving unfit testators; and
  • most of all, are a family-owned and family-oriented practice and understand the emotional stress cases involving determining someone is unfit to create or change a will can cause.


We can help you through this challenging situation. Contact Us Online or Call Us at 610-670-9000 today.

Miller Law Group Berks County Law Offices in West Lawn, PA

Miller Law Group’s Berks County Law Offices are in West Lawn near Reading and Wyomissing, PA.

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