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Home » Estate Planning » What does being of sound mind mean?

A will often serves as a central piece of an estate plan. It often serves as one of, if not the first, testamentary document that ends up drafted.

Some restrictions exist when New Jersey adults set about making their own will. For example, in order for the state to legally validate a will, the person writing it must have a sound mind.

What is a sound mind?

Legal Explanations discusses the legal meaning of having a sound mind. This requires having a level of understanding about the will and what it will accomplish. A person with a sound mind will understand their will’s terms and what the will does after their death.

This person must also understand the property that they own, and what happens to their property under the terms of the will after their death.

Why is it important?

Without having sound mind, it is too easy for other parties to take advantage of the person in question as they draft their will. A malicious party could coerce, pressure or trick the individual into making decisions they would not otherwise make. This party might force them to make decisions that actively go against their wishes and interests, too.

It is possible for a person’s soundness of mind to end up questioned after their death, however. A party might decide to challenge the will based on capacity, and in that case, probate courts must then determine whether or not the decedent was actually of sound mind.

Questions of capacity may prove a challenge for many parties involved, and it is one potential hurdle to keep an eye on when creating a will.