Physician Letter on Testator's Competency to Make a Will or Trust
A physician letter on mental competency is a document that is sometimes prepared in regard to the health of an individual that is preparing to make a will or has executed a will, referred to as the testator or testatrix. This type of statement of mental competency from a doctor may also be in the form of an affidavit in some cases. It may be useful to have a physician write a letter regarding a testator's capacity to make a will or codicil if the testator's estate planning documents may be challenged on the basis of mental competency. See dementia and wills. A physician's statement on mental competency may also be beneficial if the testator is disinheriting an heir or making a substantial change to the testator's estate plan and is of advanced age.
This page contains a form letter for a physician to write a statement about whether a testator is of sound mind and mentally competent to make a will, trust or other estate planning documents. The physician may write a letter that outlines the details of the physician's evaluation of the testator, such as the date or time period of the medical examination, etc. The template below contains sample language as an example of the type of information typically included in a doctor's letter certifying the health of a testator. The primary objective of this type of letter or affidavit is to document the time period of the physician's examination and any findings that the testator met applicable state law requirements to make a will or other testamentary documents. See Wills and Trusts. The sample form letter is shown below.
Instructions for Using the Physician Letter on Mental Competency Form
Please read these instructions before using any free estate planning forms on this site. Before asking a doctor to prepare a letter, affidavit or other statement regarding any matter related to an estate plan, consult an attorney about the type of evidence that may be admissible in the applicable jurisdiction. Laws governing wills, trusts, and estates are different from state to state. Only a licensed attorney that has reviewed your case can determine whether it is appropriate to have a physician provide a statement, opinion or testimony regarding testamentary capacity or mental competency. Because the requirements for testamentary capacity vary among the states, the details that need to be included in a physician's letter or affidavit may be different depending on where the testator is domiciled or where the will may be admitted for probate. For example, state law may require the testator to understand certain things, such as the nature of the testator's property, the testator's relations to relatives or next of kin, the nature of the act of making a will, etc.All documents in your estate plan should be drafted by a licensed attorney familiar with the state laws of the state where the testator is domiciled. Your estate planning documents should be executed in accordance with instructions from a licensed attorney. If you obtain a physician's letter, affidavit, medical records or other documents as part of the estate planning process, make sure you provide copies to your executor, trustee or other individuals responsible for settling your estate as instructed by your lawyer. In addition, this type of form should be stored with your will or trust and any Letter of Instruction prepared for your estate plan.The Physician's Letter on Mental Competency to Make a Will Form is only an example of the type of letter that has been used in some estate plans in the United States and is provided for educational purposes only. Forms and templates should not be relied upon to create your estate planning documents, but may be used to generate a discussion with your lawyer about issues to consider when developing a strategy to ensure your last wishes are followed.If you are the executor or personal representative of a decedent's estate or the trustee of a trust and have questions about how the testimony of a physician or medical records related to the testamentary capacity of the deceased may impact probate or trust administration, contact a
Form Letter for Physician Opinion on Mental Competency for Estate Plan
Print this letter on letterhead of the physician. The name, street address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email address of the physician should appear on the top or bottom portion of the letter.Insert date of letterTO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,I am the treating physician of Insert full legal name of testator or testatrix. I have been the treating physician of insert name of testator or testatrix from insert start date of treatment, examination or medical evaluation to insert end date of treatment, examination or medical evaluation.Insert full legal name of testator or testatrix was examined by me on insert date or dates of examination or medical evaluation.This report is to certify that at all times insert name of testator or testatrix was of sound mind and mentally competent.Signature of treating physician above signature lineInsert full name of treating physicianEND OF FORMCopyright 2020 Pennyborn.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This form may not be copied, reprinted, rewritten, displayed, published, broadcast, excerpted or used in any other way.
Example of Physician Letter on Testamentary Capacity to Make a Will
February 8, 2020
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,I am the treating physician of John Jeffrey Allen. I have been Mr. Allen's treating physician from January 3, 2020 to the present. John Jeffrey Allen was examined by me on January 3, 2020, January 26, 2020, and February 7, 2020.This report is to certify that at all times Mr. Allen was of sound mind and mentally competent.Signature of PhysicianElizabeth N. Bowers, M.D.Western Lakes Medical Practice
Is a Doctor's Letter or Affidavit Necessary When Making an Estate Plan?
If the person making an estate plan is in good health and there are unlikely to be any questions surrounding the individual's testamentary capacity or mental competency, a physician's letter or affidavit is not something you would typically obtain when making an estate plan. A physician's letter or affidavit may be useful, however, when the testator is experiencing or may experience declining health or impaired capacity due to advanced age, a terminal illness or a degenerative health condition.If there is a concern the validity of the will, codicil or trust may be challenged based on an issue related to the health of the testator, a physician's letter or affidavit may be part of a strategy to support the validity of the estate planning documents. Related estate planning strategies include
Self-Proving Wills. Contact a licensed attorney to discuss whether you need to take additional steps when making a will or trust in anticipation of a will contest or estate litigation.The Physician's Letter on Mental Competency to Make a Will Form was published by Pennyborn.com on February 8, 2019.
Updated February 7, 2020.
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