Testamentary Capacity Assessments

A Testamentary Capacity Assessment is a robust report undertaken by our team which documents that you understand the new Will you have had drawn up, and that your understanding of the new Will reflects accurately all of your property, money and possessions, how you have decided to include or leave out people/organisations to benefit from your new Will, and that no one has pressured you to including any decisions other than your own wishes. Our Testamentary Capacity report will help ensure your wishes in your new Will are honoured after your death.
Case Studies

The overall experience was excellent. Communication with Thornton & Lee and appointment availability were easy, smooth, first class. My Assessor was thoroughly professional, she made me feel at ease, and was totally (and comfortably) in control of the process. The report was provided extremely quickly and is just perfect as far as I am concerned.
Mr Y, Nottingham

Thank you for providing me with this testamentary capacity assessment. I am very pleased with the outcome, and further, I am also very impressed with the service that you have provided, and will certainly suggest using your services to future clients, where appropriate. In respect of the contents, I am impressed by the detail, which is also a useful read for my own assessments of clients. Please thank the assessor for their time in visiting my client, and for the preparation of the report itself.

Private Client Solicitor, Essex

Excellent communication from the outset. Clearly laid out the next steps and expectations for me and my clients. “Met” the client via video link on a weekend when it was the best for them and their family. Prompt, very thorough and comprehensive report produced. The Assessor struck the right balance between empathy and getting the job done well, with a vulnerable client. The whole experience took the “dread” away from having to invoke the Golden Rule. It was simple and professional. Most of all, the clients were delighted. Having yet again failed to get the client’s GP to report on her testamentary capacity, I will now just immediately revert to Thornton & Lee so as to not waste further time in the knowledge that my client will receive an excellent service. I will definitely use them again.
Director, Hamilton Legacy, Durham

Very pleased. The Testamentary Capacity Report covered everything we needed (which is not always the case). Quick responses and turn around time. Able/willing to adapt to client’s needs. Pleased with interaction with client’s.
Hansells Solicitors, Norfolk

The quality / frequency of communication and speed of transaction from instruction to completion was excellent. A very professional service indeed. The report was thorough and covered every aspect of the legal test for Testamentary Capacity. I have confidence in instructing Thornton & Lee on future reports, and would recommend them to my professional colleagues specialising in Private Client and Court of Protection work
Associate Solicitor, Ellisons Solicitors, Suffolk

My mum and I were so apprehensive about today's assessment. However, the Assessor was absolutely amazing, she set mum at ease. Mum said she enjoyed talking to the Assessor.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Mrs R, Buckinghamshire

What is Testamentary Capacity?

Testamentary Mental Capacity put very simply; is having the understanding required by law to make or change ones Will.  The 'Golden Rule' should always be followed when drawing up, or making amendments to a Will;

'No matter how straightforward matters may appear, when making a Will as a Testator who has suffered serious illness, a Testamentary Capacity Assessment should be considered, the findings of which evidenced and recorded. Thus reducing the likelihood of a contested probate, ensuring the testators wishes are honoured after their passing'.

As you can see the bar for requiring a Testamentary Capacity assessment is actually quite low. If your Solicitor, Estate Planner, or Will Writer has recommended that you have such as assessment they are being conscientious in protecting your wishes for your estate on your passing, by including one of our comprehensive Court standard Testamentary Capacity reports to be filed with your Will, thus reducing the likelihood of a later successful legal challenge.

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We Provide Full Reports On All Our Assessments

Our Testamentary Capacity reports evidence the test of Banks v Goodfellow (1870); entailing the individual understands the nature of making a Will and its effects, and the extent of the property being disposed. The individual should be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he or she ought to give effect and have no disorder of the mind that perverts his or her sense of right or preventing the exercise of their natural faculties in disposing of property by Will.

When we are assessing the individual, we will be record in our robust Court standard report whether they can retain information relevant to the decisions they are making regarding the disposal of their estate throughout the decision-making process. The report will evidence whether the individual is able to weigh up the information to help make those decisions and their ability to communicate this. The level of understanding required by the test varies according to the complexity of the will itself, the individual’s assets and the claims upon the individual.

Assessment Process and Duration

The will capacity assessment itself will take approximately one hour to complete, however, this can vary depending on the complexity of the information discussed and consideration of any specialist needs. All necessary preparatory work will be completed before the assessment takes place and the Mental Capacity Assessor will ensure they have all the required information to achieve a comprehensive and detailed assessment. Assessments can take place in a variety of settings including; the individual's home, a care home, or a hospital setting.

We can offer a Secure Video Platform to undertake our assessments or a face-to-face appointment. Video assessments are recognised and accepted by the Court as a robust method. For Testamentary Capacity assessments, the person facilitating the video assessment in the individual's home, must not be a Beneficiary or Executor of the Will. If you specifically need a face-to-face assessment please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Your Comfort is Our Priority

Our experienced Independent Social Workers will ensure that the individual is comfortable throughout the assessment process, promoting positive engagement in the decision-making process, alongside a person-centred and conversational approach throughout the interaction. Our approach is calm, supportive and always professional, with an aim of promoting a positive experience for the individual.

What is a Statutory Will?

Our experienced Mental Capacity Assessors will do all we can to ensure that we get the best out of the individual on the day, using a friendly and conversational approach. Before the appointment, we will carefully prepare to ensure the best communication methods are chosen to suit individual needs, and that the time and date of the appointment is chosen to promote when the individual is likely to be at their best cognitively. However, occasionally despite our best efforts we have to conclude that the individual lacks the necessary Testamentary Capacity. In these cases, your Financial or Legal Advisor might suggest applying to the Court Of Protection for a Statutory Will. Thornton & Lee can assist with a specialist Mental Capacity report submitted to the Court alongside the Statutory Will application.

Members of the public are welcome to instruct us directly, however, we suggest that you seek independent legal or financial advice, in order to ensure that the completed assessment meets the needs of your situation.

Require Our Services Urgently?

We know that sometimes time is of the essence and work flexibly to fit in with your needs. Please get in touch to arrange an appointment.

Please complete the enquiry form below. We will be in touch within 24 hours.

The role of Independent Social Workers in exploring Undue Influence in drafted Wills

By Rebecca Thornton | 16 February 2023

With another high profile contested Will Court case hitting the Newspapers 14th February 2023 titled “War over ‘genius’ bankers £18m fortune: Brother of ex-Goldman Sachs financier brands his Polish lover a ‘call girl’ who ‘conned him out of £4m chunk of estate – including his London flat – before he died aged 55“. It once…