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Published: Aug 14, 2022

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Understanding Testamentary Capacity in Estate Planning

[1]Mulford v. Central Farmers Trust Co., 126 So. 762 (Fla. 1930). [2] Fla. Stat. § 732.502 (2022).[3] Fla. Stat. § 732.5165 (2022). [4]In re Tobias' Estate, 192 So. 2d 83 (1966)[5] Newman v. Smith, 82 So. 236, 238 (Fla. 1918). [6] See, e.g., Newman, 82 So. 236, see also, In re Witt’s Estate, 139 So.2d 904 (Fla. 2d DCA 1962). [7] In re Wilmott's Estate, 66 So.2d 465, 468 (Fla. 1953) (citing Fernstrom v. Taylor, 107 Fla. 490 (Fla. 1933)). [8] McCabe v. Hanley, 886 So.2d 1053 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004). [9] Id. at 1055. [10] York v. Smith, 385 So.2d 1110, 1111 (Fla. 1st DCA 1980) (citing Forsythe v. Spielberger, 86 So.2d 427 (Fla. 1956); 1 Page on Wills, Sec. 13.11 (Bowe-Parker ed. 1960)). [11] In re Supplee's Est., 247 So.2d 488, 491 (Fla. 2d DCA 1971) (finding that “it is not the truth or falsity of the ‘belief’ but, instead, whether or not such belief arose from reasoning from a known premise.”), certiorari denied. [12] Chapman v. Campbell, App. 2 Dist., 119 So.2d 61, 64 (1960) (finding that “where testator's sanity is questioned and inquisition establishes insanity or general insane condition prior to execution of will, one claiming under will must prove either that will was actually executed during lucid interval, or that at time of its execution testator's sanity had been restored”). [13] In re Dunson's Estate, 141 So.2d 601, 604 (Fla. 2d DCA 1962) (finding that “[m]ere old age, physical frailty, sickness, failing memory, or vacillating judgment are not inconsistent with testamentary capacity if the testamentary prerequisites were possessed by the testator”). [14] Id. [15] Fla. Stat. §736.0601 (2022). [16] Fla. Stat. §736.0604 (2022). [17] Fla. Stat. §736.0207(2) (2022). [18] Fla. Stat. §736.0207(1) (2022). [19] Fla. Stat. §732.518 (2022). [20] Fla. Stat. §733.212(3) (2022). [21] Fla. Prob. R. 5.550 (2022). [22] Fla. Prob. R. 5.270 (2022). [23] Dean v. Bentley, 848 So.2d 487,489 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003) (finding that “[a]lthough sections 733.208 and 733.109, Florida Statutes, provide that a petition for revocation of probate should be filed before discharge, fraud is recognized as justification for reopening an estate, even after an order for discharge has been entered” citing Liechty v. Hall, 687 So.2d 64, 65 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997); Padgett v. Padgett's Estate, 318 So.2d 484, 485 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975). [24] Fla. Prob. R. 5.275 (2022). [25] Fla. Stat. §733.107(1) (2022); see also, Fla. Prob. R. 5.275. [26] Fla. Stat. § 744.3201 (2022). [27] Id. [28] Fla. Stat. § 744.331 (2022). [29] Id. [30] Id. [31] Id. [32] Id. [33] Fla. Stat. § 744.331. [34] In re Hammermann's Estate, 387 So.2d 409, 411 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980) (finding that, in that case, “. . . the lay testimony was competent evidence of the testator's testamentary capacity . . . and that the trial court was not obliged to reject that evidence in light of medical testimony to the contrary”). [35] Fla. Stat. §744.3215 (2022) [36] See, generally, 12 Fla. Prac., Estate Planning § 4:42 (2022). [37] See, Fla. Stat. § 765.202 (2022). [38] Id. [39] See, Fla. Stat. § 765.302 (2022). [40] Id. [41] See, Fla. Stat. § 765.101(10) (2022). [42] See, Fla. Stat. § 709.2102(9) (2022). [43] Fla. Stat. § 709.2109(3) (2022). [44] Fla. Stat. § 709.2109(1)(b) (2022). [45] Fla. Stat. § 744.3201(3) (2022). [46] “Ward” is the person who receives the guardian appointed by the court. [47] Fla. Stat. § 744.3215(3) (2022). [48] Fla. Stat. § 744.102(9) (2022). [49] Fla. Stat. § 744.3045 (2022). [50] Id. [51] Id. [52] Martinez v. Guardianship of Smith, 159 So.3d 394 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015). [53] See, Fla. Stat. §744.341 (2022) [54] Id. [55] Id. [56] Id. [57] Fla. Stat. §744.341 (2022) [58] See, e.g., Bryan v. Century Nat. Bank, 498 So.2d 868, 870 (Fla. 1986). [59] Id. at 871. [60] Dunson, 141 So.2d at 601. [61] See, Bartsch v. Wirth's Estate, 136 So.2d 648 (Fla. 3d DCA 1962), certiorari denied. [62] See, Fla. Stat. § 733.107 (2022). [63] In re Carpenter's Estate, 253 So. 2d 697, 701 (Fla. 1971) (finding that “[i]t is established in Florida that if a substantial beneficiary under a will occupies a confidential relationship with the testator and is active in procuring the contested will, the presumption of undue influence arises”). [64] Id.; see also, Allen v. Dutton's Estate, 394 So.2d 132 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980), review denied. [65] See, Allen, 394 So.2d at 134. [66] Allen, 387 So.2d 535 [67] See, Carpenter, 253 So.2d at 697. [68] See, Ahlman v. Wolf,  483 So.2d 889 (Fla. 3d DCA 1986). [69] See, Carpenter, 253 So. 2d at 697. [70] See, Hack v. Estate of Helling, 811 So.2d 822 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002). [71] See, Gardiner v. Goertner, 149 So. 186 (Fla. 1932). [72] Cripe, 422 So.2d at 820. [73] Sturm v. Gibson, 185 So.2d 732 (Fla. 2d DCA 1966). [74] Cripe, 422 So.2d at 820. [75] Fernstrom v. Taylor, 145 So. 208 (Fla. 1933); see also, Saliba v. James, 196 So. 832, 835 (1940) (finding that “[a]n habitual drunkard is presumed competent when sober to make a gift unless it appears that the use of intoxicants has impaired his mental faculties”). [76] Saliba, 196 So. at 835. [77] Id. [78] Fla. Stat. § 744.342 (2022). [79] Fla. Stat. § 744.3021(4) (2022). [80] Fla. Stat. § 744.391 (2022). [81] Fla. Stat. § 744.3215(1)(a), (b), and (c) (2022). [82] Fla. Stat. § 744.3215(1)(l) (2022). [83] See, Fla. Stat. § 744.464 (2022). [84] Id. [85] Id. [86] Id. [87] Id. [88] Fla. Stat. § 744.464 (2022).

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