If someone writes a Will and then commits suicide, is the Will valid?

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If someone writes a Will and then commits suicide, is the Will valid?

A 80 year old man had a stroke and was partially paralyzed. He secretly decided to plan his funeral in great detail down to the songs to be played during the funeral. He then wrote his Last Will and Testament, dated and signed it and wrote 3 checks in the amount of $10,000 (1 to each of his daughters and 1 to his grandson). He then committed suicide.

Asked on June 10, 2015 under Estate Planning, Nevada

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In order to "contest" (i.e.�fight) the legality of a Will, there are several�grounds that can be used.�One of which is showing that the "testator" (i.e. maker) lacked "testamenterary capacity"; that is they were not�of sound mind at the time they made out their Will. However, suicide does not automatically invalidate a Will. In order for a testator to be found lacking the requisite capacity, there must be overwhelming evidence. The fact is that�a�court typically only requires that that the testator understood:

  • what a Will does and that�they were�making one;
  • what�assets that they owned;
  • how to decide on a plan for the distribution�their assets; and
  • who they would normally be expected to provide for (i.e. spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.)

The fact is that there must be clear and convincing evidence that a testaor was not of sound mind before a court will rule that a Will was invalid. This can be a time consuming and expensive task. Based on the facts provided, the testaor seems toi have had the requisite capacy to have executed their Will.

For more detailed information, you can consult with a probate attorney in the state n question, they can best advise as to specific state law.

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