Testamentary Capacity Assessment

Testamentary capacity is the term used to describe someone’s capacity to make, or amend, a Will. As expert mental capacity assessors, our assessments are completed in line with the principles of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and case law (Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549).

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What the law says

The test for testamentary capacity is based in case law and includes:

 

  • Understanding the nature of making a will and its effects.

  • Understanding the extent of the property involved.

  • Being able to comprehend and appreciate the claims involved.

  • Having no disorder of the mind that perverts your sense of right, or prevents you exercising your natural faculties when it comes to making or amending your will.

Your Questions Answered

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  • What to expect

Our assessments usually take around an hour, and our friendly, experienced social workers do their best to make sure it's a comfortable and relaxed experience. We're accredited expert mental capacity assessors, so you're in good hands.

 

  • What's Included in the assessment?

Everything necessary is included, an assessment either face to face or via video link as well as a corresponding report to be kept alongside your will and where necessary our Social Workers will complete additional assessments such as a Montreal cognitive assessment and a financial decision tracker to strengthen their reports at no additional cost.

  • Can we act as a witness?

Absolutely, if the assessment is taking place face to face and the Will is available on the day then, as long as capacity is confirmed, then our Social Workers are happy to witness your Will being signed at no additional cost. 

  • Who can complete a mental capacity assessment?

In cases involving complex or major decisions, you may need to get a professional opinion. The assessor must be an impartial, qualified professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or social worker.

  • Can we complete video-link or face to face assessments?

We can visit you in your own home or any other suitable space you feel most comfortable and at a time of your choosing. In those instances where face-to-face assessments aren't viable, we offer a fully secure video-link assessment service.

 

Accreditations

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Social Work England is a specialist body taking a new approach to regulating social workers in their vital roles. All of our Social Workers are registered with Social Work England for your peace of mind. 

 

Our assessors are accredited Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) assessors with specific experience in completing capacity assessments and specialist reports.

All of our assessors have undergone extra training to become accredited financial vulnerability experts according to Lichtenberg standards, so they can provide even more detailed reports on mental capacity.

CASE STUDY

Gregg suffered a brain injury several years ago following a car accident. Since then, life had changed, and Gregg had divorced and remarried. 

Gregg now wished to create a new will to ensure his wife, Emelia, inherited his estate but also to ensure his children from his previous relationship were looked after should anything happen. 

While Gregg had a strong relationship with his children, his relationship with his first wife, Louise, had deteriorated, which had an impact on his relationship with his brother, Peter. Peter had suggested on several occasions that Gregg was "mentally unfit" leading Gregg to worry that any new will would be contested either by Louise or Peter. 

Gregg contacted a local will writer who advised him to have a mental capacity assessment to go alongside his will to make sure everything was done correctly and to reduce the risk of his will being contested on the grounds of a lack of mental capacity. 

Our Social Workers attended Gregg at his home and completed a full capacity assessment in lien with case law (Banks Vs Goodfellow 1870) and a Montreal cognitive assessment to strengthen their report by evidencing how Gregg's brain was working on the day of the assessment.

Though Gregg initially saw the need for an assessment as an unnecessary hurdle, he understood that it reduced the risk of his will being contested later down the road. 

Need to make an appointment?
Contact our team.