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Capacity To Make A Will

The right to dispose of one’s property by will is highly valuable and it is the policy of the law to hold a last will and testament good wherever possible. To execute a valid will, the testator need only have testamentary capacity (that is, be of “sound mind”) which has been described as having the ability to mentally understand in a general way:

(1) the nature and extent of the property to be disposed of,
(2) the testator’s relation to those who would naturally claim a substantial benefit from his will, and
(3) a general understanding of the practical effect of the will as executed.

A testator may still have testamentary capacity to execute a valid will even though he may frequently be intoxicated, use narcotics, have an enfeebled mind, failing memory, or vacillating judgment. Moreover, an insane individual or one who exhibits “queer conduct” may execute a valid will as long as it is done during a lucid interval. Indeed, it is only critical that the testator possess testamentary capacity at the time of the execution of the will. Taken from Raimi v. Furlong, 702 So. 2d 1273, 1275 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997).