Check out this interesting case where the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the validity of a Will executed while the Creator suffered from Alzheimer’s!
Shortly after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia at the age of 60, Jeanette executed a Will. The Will disinherited Jeanette’s two daughters, left the entire estate to her brother and his wife and appointed them Personal Representative and Alternate Personal Representative.
In court, one of the daughters argued that Jeanette’s mental state had deteriorated to the point where she lacked the capacity to validly execute a Will and that the Will was the product of undue influence. She relied largely on Jeanette’s increasing need for notes and reminders around the house to help keep her on track, Jeanette’s inability to learn the names of her grandchildren born around the general time period when the Will was made and Jeanette’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The Court of Appeals ultimately determined that Jeanette was NOT under undue influence and had the legal capacity to execute the Will!!!!! The Court held that the degree of mental impairment necessary to invalidate a Will is well beyond merely being forgetful or having some mental infirmity and requires more psychological infirmity than what was previously presented in court.
There were three neutral witnesses who gave compelling testimony: the LAWYER WHO DRAFTED THE WILL, the lawyer who served as Jeanette’s guardian ad litem during a guardianship proceeding and the psychiatrist who treated Jeanette for a number of years, including the year she executed the Will.
As Alzheimer’s is all too common, this case can hit close to home for many. Before creating or updating estate plan documents, talk to a professional to ensure as best as possible that if they are EVER challenged, your true intentions will be followed!
Read the full opinion here !
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