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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / What Does It Mean to Say That Someone Is Incapacitated?

What Does It Mean to Say That Someone Is Incapacitated?


The process of estate planning includes thinking about what happens to your property and care of your pets and minor children after you pass away, but also puts in motion plans or the people who will help facilitate things if something happens to you. This primarily helps with issues of incapacitation, when someone is unable to make personal decisions or understand legal documents.

If someone does not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, their documents may be considered invalid by the court in the future. This becomes especially problematic if the person created formal documents like a will and a beneficiary of the estate challenges the will. This process can slow down probate and alter estate plan distributions that you intended. Ensuring that a person has capacity, therefore, is an important component of proper estate planning in Virginia.

A person who is classified as incapacitated will require another decision maker, such as an agent under a health care power of attorney.

When a person has the mental state to fully understand what they’re doing and executing a valid legal document, they are referred to as having capacity. If a court determines that someone signed a will or other estate planning document while incapacitated, that document may be rendered invalid.

There are many different reasons why someone may lose capacity, such as injuries, illnesses, or disabilities. Incapacity can last short or long term. You may have specific wishes about caring for your finances or your medical decisions should you become incapacitated. These should be properly documented in relevant legal forms.

Work with an estate planning attorney in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to ensure you have covered all of the bases with this important estate planning process. Discuss your options with a lawyer to create your own plan.

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