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Part 2 of 3: My adult daughter has a disability … Can she sign a Will?

hands-signing-close-up-smlLast week, in Part 1 of this 3-part blogpost, I explored the question about whether Sandra’s daughter with a disability, Stacy, should have a Will given the very few assets that she has.

However, the more challenging question that needs to be explored is whether or not Stacy has the mental capacity to sign a Will.

I cautioned Sandra and Stacy that before Stacy could sign a Will, it would have to be determined whether she has what is known as “testamentary capacity”. This refers to the mental ability to give Will instructions and to sign a Will. For example, she would have to be able to answer the following questions, among others:

1. Who are your logical beneficiaries?

2. Do you support anyone or do you have an obligation to support anyone?

3. What are your assets and their approximate value?

4. Who would you name as your executor (‘estate trustee’) and are they suitable for the job?

5. Is anyone pressuring you to make your Will in a certain way?

Before leaving, Sandra thanked me for finally providing them with the answers they needed. She expressed her frustration at receiving conflicting advice from the various professionals with whom they had consulted. One had told them not to worry about having Stacy sign a Will while another had advised them it was a big deal and she should absolutely sign a Will.

I understand Sandra’s frustration all too well. I have experienced these very issues within my own family. Do you have questions about how best to provide for a loved one with a disability? Or about what estate planning your loved one with a disability should be doing? Call 613.836.9915 or email to make an appointment to meet with me at my Ottawa law office. We will review your family’s unique situation and estate planning goals and explore the estate planning options available to you and your loved ones.


Reproduction of this blog is permitted if the author is credited.  If you have questions or if you would like more information, please call us at 613 836-9915. This blog is not intended to be legal advice but contains general information.  Please consult a lawyer or other professional to determine how the information in this blog might apply to you.

Blog posts pre-dated December 1, 2015 were originally published under Neff Law Office Professional Corporation.

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