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Assessing Testamentary Capacity: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the intricacies of testamentary capacity is crucial, especially for those in social work practice. At Nellie Supports, we aim to equip you with the information relevant to the decisions surrounding testamentary capacity assessments, both legal and psychological. In this blog, we delve into legal tests, the Mental Capacity Act 2005, key case law, and more.

Natural Faculties and Mental Illness

The term 'natural faculties' refers to one's ability to think, reason, and understand. In assessing testamentary capacity, these faculties play a crucial role. A mental illness that influences these faculties could prevent the exercise of clear judgment.

Comprehend and Appreciate the Claims

One fundamental aspect in assessing testamentary capacity is the individual's ability to comprehend and appreciate the claims that they might be morally or legally obliged to recognize. This includes an understanding of the extent to which their decisions might impact potential beneficiaries or claimants.

Legal Test for Testamentary Capacity

The most often cited legal test for testamentary capacity stems from the case of Banks v Goodfellow (1870). This case law has been monumental in defining the guidelines and standards used in assessments. The test involves understanding the nature of the testament and its effects, appreciating the claims that should be given effect, and also not having a disorder of the mind that perverts the sense of right or prevents rational thought.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

While Banks v Goodfellow provides historical context, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is the modern legislative framework. Understanding the Mental Capacity Act is crucial as it provides additional tools and measures for capacity assessment.

Testamentary Capacity Report

Nellie Supports offers a comprehensive testamentary capacity report. This report focuses on evaluating the capacity at the time the testament is made. The report adheres to all legal requirements and utilizes the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and relevant case law to provide a thorough analysis.

When to Contact Us?

If you or someone you know may require a capacity assessment, please contact us at Nellie Supports. Our team of experts is well-versed in conducting assessments and preparing testamentary capacity reports.


Assessing testamentary capacity is a complex, multifaceted process that involves understanding both legal and psychological aspects. Knowledge of the legal tests, landmark case law, and legislative frameworks like the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is crucial.

For more information, guidance, or to schedule an assessment, please contact us. At Nellie Supports, we are committed to providing you with the expertise and care you need.

Contact Us: | 📞 0333 987 5118

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