How mental illness can impact a person's estate

Many adult children in Georgia are helping to care for aging parents with health care concerns. In some situations, parents suffer from mental illness; in particular, dementia or Alzheimer-related symptoms. Beyond the sorrow of having to witness a parent's cognitive and mental decline, it can be stressful trying to keep on top of various estate-related issues that may arise.

A crucial factor in executing an estate plan has to do with the estate owner's mental health. In fact, a last will and testament or any other estate document is only valid if signed by a person who is of sound mind at the time. This means that if a will, for instance, is already signed, then the signing party suffers mental illness and tries to execute a change to the will, the court will likely not consider the change valid.

In situations where an elderly parent is no longer mentally competent, adult children often seek guardianship. A legal guardian oversees personal affairs and finances for a person no longer able to make important decisions on his or her own. In fact, some estate owners designate a particular person to step in as a guardian should one be needed down the line.

Possessing the mental ability to execute an estate plan is commonly referred to as testamentary capacity. Mental illness is one of many issues that may impede a person's ability to act on his or her own accord. An experienced Georgia attorney who focuses on long-term care and elder law can be a great asset to anyone facing legal complications concerning such matters. 

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Issues: Caring for Parents with Dementia", Accessed on May 29, 2018

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