Testamentary Capacity & COVID-19: What You Need to Know

How COVID-19 Affects the Capacity to Make a Will

COVID-19 has complicated daily life, and the legal system has not been immune to it. With many families creating their estate plans to plan for the future should something happen, the question of how the coronavirus impacts an individual’s testamentary capacity has come into play. Here’s what you need to know about testamentary capacity and COVD-19.

Health Complications Impact Decision Making Ability

While the mild complications of COVID-19 include fatigue, fever, and cough, more severe cases can lead to long-term health issues like confusion and damage to the lungs, heart, and brain. These complications as well as the limited interaction family members can have with patients while under care can make it difficult to determine if any estate planning documents created while ill with COVID-19 impact their decision-making capacity.

In British Columbia, testamentary capacity is determined by the will-makers ability to:

  • Understand the nature/effect of the will;
  • Understand the nature of his or her property;
  • Understand what was being bequeathed under the will;
  • Remember the persons who might be expected to benefit from the will; and 
  • Understand the nature of any claims that may be made by a person who is excluded from the will.

In addition to the physical and mental implications of contracting COVID-19, it is important to recognize the impacts that coronavirus mandates have placed on families, also impacting the ability to seek the legal guidance and family support that may have been sought under normal circumstances.

Isolation has shown to be detrimental to mental health, leading families to wonder, was the will drafted under sound circumstances?

However, when a loved one passes away and these questions of testamentary capacity exist, it will be important for family members to seek legal advice from British Columbia estate litigation lawyers who can navigate the system and seek out knowledge about the mental state of the deceased in those cases where medical care was utilized.

Testamentary Capacity and COVID-19: Klein Lawyers LLP

COVID-19 has made many families in British Columbia seek estate planning measures like the creation of wills and trusts, to ensure that their loved ones are cared for even after they pass. However, when a loved one has contracted COVID-19 and has, in turn, suffered mental implications as a result of the stress of the illness and the feeling of isolation, it is up to the family to see if there is something off about the creation of the will.

If you believe that your loved one drafted a will with reduced testamentary capacity as a result of COVID-19, you may want to undergo the wills variation process in British Columbia. At Klein Lawyers, our estate litigation lawyers will review the will and navigate the legality of your claim, ensuring that your loved one’s estate does not end up in the wrong hands.

Contact Klein Lawyers at (604) 874-7171 today for a free, confidential case evaluation. Our wills variation lawyers serve clients throughout British Columbia from offices in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, and Surrey.