Making Sense of Testamentary Capacity

Geats connecting to a lightbulb that looks like a brain

Making Sense of
Testamentary Capacity

Any individual over eighteen years of age in Iowa can execute a will as long as they observe the state’s rules and procedures and are of sound mind when doing so.

Testamentary capacity refers to the degree of “sound mind” or mental ability a testator owned during the will’s execution.

One of the most common challenges in will contest litigation asserts decedents lacked testamentary capacity at the time they created or altered their wills.

Iowa probate courts will presume that testators held the requisite testamentary capacity unless challengers can show otherwise.

The burden of proof thus lies with caveators (will challengers) to establish the deceased was mentally incompetent during the will signing.

The contrary is true however if the courts had formerly declared testators legally incapacitated, in which case, will challenge defendants bear the burden to prove testators held testamentary capacity to execute their wills.

Since challengers frequently assert testamentary capacity claims during estate dispute litigation, probate lawyers at the Smith Law Firm found it important to share their testamentary capacity experience and information with you if ever, one day, someone tries to attack your inheritance.

Common Questions

Legal Issues Relating to
Testamentary Capacity

A claim that asserts another person exploited the testator’s lack of testamentary capacity by coercing, pressuring or persuading the decedent to change or alter the will.
A contention claiming the will in controversy is not a true reflection of the testator’s intent because another person asserted fraudulent misrepresentation within the testator’s lack of testamentary capacity to deceive the testator into executing a will.
An action that contends the testamentary documents in controversy are not reliable and invalid.

Experienced Testamentary Capacity Litigation in Iowa

The Smith Law Firm attacks and defends testamentary capacity claims.

Seek our advice if you suspect a testator unjustifiably left you out of a will or if a caveator attacks your inheritance by claiming the deceased lacked the testamentary capacity to execute his testamentary documents.

We are the go-to probate litigators in Iowa for resolving probate disputes.

And don’t forget. “It’s our mission to save you money by resolving your testamentary capacity matters out of court or in mediation.”