Standards for drafting wills and Arizona conservatorships

By May 25, 2011Uncategorized

One issue that sometimes comes up with Arizona conservatorships is that protected persons are met with resistance when they express a desire to execute a will.  Those unfamiliar with the law surrounding Arizona conservatorships might believe that a person who is unable to manage his or her estate properly also lacks the ability – known as testamentary capacity – to execute a valid will.  The truth of the matter, however, is that the standard for Arizona conservatorships is actually quite a bit different than the standard for executing a will.

To begin with, Arizona conservatorships are established for individuals who are unable to manage their affairs effectively, and who are at risk of wasting their property unless proper management is provided.  Where the court is persuaded that a person meets these criteria, it can appoint a conservator to act on that person’s behalf.  But importantly, the fact that a person has a conservator is not conclusive evidence that he or she lacks the testamentary capacity to execute a will.

Testamentary capacity is defined in Arizona as understanding the nature and effect of what you are signing; understanding the nature and effect of the property subject to disposition; and knowing the natural objects of your bounty.  Anybody who has a fairly firm grasp of these three things is deemed mentally capable of executing a will.  Even if that person has days where he or she lacks capacity, that person can execute a will in what is referred to as a “lucid interval.”

The point here is that even a person who is under the supervision of a conservatorship has time yet to get his or her affairs in order.  A conservatorship attorney at JacksonWhite can help you with any specific questions you may have about this issue.  Please do not hesitate to call JacksonWhite with your questions about Arizona conservatorships at (480) 818-6912.