Testamentary Capacity and Medication

Testamentary Capacity and MedicationVery often when a will contest is made, the issue of testamentary capacity is cited as the reason. Whether testamentary capacity is affected by a medication taken by the testator at the time the will was written can be difficult to prove, and you should consider working with a Kingwood estate lawyer.

Testamentary Capacity and Medication

The mere fact that the testator was on a medication at the time that the will was written is not sufficient cause for proving a lack of testamentary capacity. A mood altering medication, such as an antidepressant, often has the opposite effect, helping the individual to make better decisions because depression issues do not interfere.

It will probably be necessary that the testator was on a mind-altering substance when writing the will. Examples of such a medication include:

  • An illicit drug, such as marijuana or a hallucinogen
  • A prescribed opioid medication
  • A benzodiazepine
  • Anesthetic

It should be noted that even when a medication usually is mind-altering, if the testator took it for a lengthy period of time his mind may have adjusted to it and the altering effects therefore might be reduced. For instance, the testator may have been on strong medications for chronic pain. Individuals are known to develop tolerance to such medications, and any mind-altering effects might thereby not be as pronounced as with an individual who first takes such medication.

Proving Lack of Testamentary Capacity

Whether a medication limited testamentary capacity must be decided on an individual basis. One person’s reactions to a medication can be considerably different from another’s. Also, the claimant has the burden of proof in showing a lack of testamentary capacity. Such proof is often very difficult to bring. This is especially true if the testator has died. In such a case it will be necessary to bring in evidence, such as medical records, testimony of other individuals, or videotapes of the testator that show him in an altered state at the time the will was written.

Along with proving that a medication the testator was using actually altered his thinking, the claimant also needs to show that the intentions of the testator are not reflected in the will. This can be particularly difficult to prove. One way to demonstrate this claim is if a previous will exists that included the claimant who was later removed.

Work with an Attorney if You Decide to Challenge a Will in This Way

If you decide to claim lack of testamentary capacity because of the effects of a medication, you face a significant challenge. It may be in your best interests to work with a Kingwood estate lawyer. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.

About Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is an attorney and the owner and founder of Peterson Law Group, a Texas law firm with offices in Bryan/College Station and Kingwood. He mainly practices in the areas of Estate Planning and Business Planning. Chris is also a Certified Estate Planner. Besides his law practice, Chris is a serial entrepreneur and community volunteer. He is known for his cutting edge law practice that utilizes technology to deliver efficient, excellent work.