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Chicago Lack of Mental Capacity Probate Attorneys

Losing a loved one is never easy, and when disputes arise over their last will and testament it can lengthen the grieving process. When the mental capacity of the decedent is questioned it only adds to the stress and loss. A testator (someone executing the will) must have sufficient mental capacity, or be ‘of sound mind’, to execute their will, according to the Illinois Probate Act of 1975. The claim a testator has a lack of mental capacity often comes up when a testator executes a will soon before their death or was suffering a serious illness at the time of the will’s execution.

Our experienced and professional Chicago mental capacity probate attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC can represent any party involved in a mental capacity dispute over their loved ones will. We regularly handle cases in the Chicago probate courts and represent clients throughout the greater Chicago area. Contact us today by calling (855) 328-5787 to set up your free consultation.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help

The law, no matter the field, is extremely complex and time consuming to understand. What sounds straightforward might not always be so when it comes to the law. It can be taken out of context, argued at from a different standpoint, or even be misconstrued. An experienced mental capacity probate attorney understands the ins and outs of the law and can fight on your behalf. It takes time, research, and resources to track down the necessary proof and evidence for a legal case. An experienced legal team has the means to find evidence and fight the case.

Additionally, it can be emotional and stressful for the parties directly involved. These factors can cloud thinking and judgment, which is something that can get in the way of practicing law. A compassionate legal team will be there with you every step of the way and deal with the legal side, so you can focus on grieving and moving on.

Why Choose Peck Ritchey, LLC?

Our team at Peck Ritchey, LLC provides over 100 years of experience in probate cases. We have experience with a wide variety of legal matters, with a special emphasis on the litigation of contested wills and trusts. Our goal is to provide qualified counsel and open communication to our clients. We communicate with our clients clearly, so they understand all their options and what the next steps are in their case.

How is Mental Capacity Determined?

Intended to prevent anyone from taking advantage of individuals with diminished mental capacity, any Chicago testator must possess the mental capacity to understand the consequences of their will or trust.

There are three factors that the Chicago courts look at to determine if someone signing a will or trust is of sound mind. The individual must show they understand the following questions.

  • What are they are signing and what are its implications?
  • What is their property’s value and extent?
  • What is their relationship with the named beneficiaries?

If a testator did not fully understand the above-mentioned questions, then that is possible grounds for contesting their mental capacity.

There is a Capacity Assessment from the American Bar Association which lawyers are recommended to use when helping someone execute a will or trust. This assessment helps attorneys screen the individual’s mental capacity to ensure they are of sound mind. It details personality areas that indicate if someone has a diminished mental capacity. These areas include cognition, emotion, and behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand mental capacity probate is an extraordinarily complex topic, and many questions arise. Below are a few of the commonly asked questions we hear from our clients.

How much does a probate attorney cost?

Every case is unique; therefore, there is no one set cost per case. The biggest factor that impacts legal representation pricing is the amount of time spent on the case. We discuss more detailed pricing in our free consultations to ensure our clients understand our fees before moving forward.

What can prove a lack of mental capacity?

This is very case-specific, but there are often general, specific items needed as proof for lack of mental capacity. Here are a few frequently required factors needed to contest mental capacity.

  • Medical records
  • Evidence of irrational conduct or behavior
  • Evidence of incompetence
  • Testimony from individuals who witnessed the testator execute the will
  • Testimony from individuals who were around the testator near the time the will was executed

If someone was sick when they executed their will, then does that mean they lack mental capacity?

Just because an individual was sick, physically, or mentally, when they executed their will, does not necessarily mean they lacked mental capacity. If they understood those three questions above, then a court could deem them of sound mind.

How long does someone have to contest a will?

According to Illinois statute 755 ILCS 5/8-1 and 8-2 (1994), all claims against a deceased person’s will must be filed within 6 months of the court entering an order admitting the will to probate.

Are mental capacity probate cases on the rise?

There are a couple of reasons why these types of cases are more frequent now compared to a few decades ago. First off, advances in healthcare mean the average person has a longer lifespan now. Due to issues like dementia and illnesses in the elderly, it increases the chances of a lack of mental capacity contestation. Plus, many families are no longer the traditional nuclear family. This means more parties are involved in dividing up the decedent’s estate.

Consult With a Chicago Lack of Mental Capacity Probate Attorney

At the Peck Ritchey, LLC, our Chicago lack of mental capacity probate attorneys are committed to honoring the best interests of Chicago decedents and the terms of their wills and trusts. To discuss the particulars of your dispute with one of our Chicago probate attorneys, please call our Chicago offices at Peck Ritchey, LLC today.