Capacity Issues

A certain level of capacity is required to be able to make contracts, give consents and a whole range of legal matters.

For making a Will, it is necessary that the will maker has "testamentary capacity".

A different level of capacity or at least a different test is applicable to granting an enduring power of attorney.

Capacity for carrying out actions and making well thought out decisions is not something that you have one day and the next it is gone.  Instead there is generally a gradual deterioriation in capacity and gradually more help and guidance is required by others.  It is important to get planning done early rather than later.

The overall plan made for the future will often include that the existing Will is to be changed upon the happening of a future predicted event.  The range of possible events can be very large indeed.  It could be when a beneficiary reaches particular age.  It could be when a particular item of property is sold.  You can think about the future and make predictions about circumstances that are likely to occur and will result in changes to your existing Will.  This is just all about good planning.  What needs to be considered as you get older is the increasing risk of not having testamentary capacity such that you cannot change your Will when these future circumstances do occur!  As age increases the loss of testamentary capacity becomes more likely.

One potential way to deal with the issue is to appreciate the jurisdiction regarding "statutory wills".