In a recent class, I was asked about an estate plan for a person with Epilepsy.
In hindsight, I could have offered a better answer to our discussion regarding capacity and sound mind.
Thus, please allow me an opportunity to identify some ancillary support to families trying to manage this very difficult medical condition.
Epilepsy Estate Plans – A Suggestion
No, there isn’t a specific will or estate plan exclusive to a person with this condition. Instead, the goal of any plan is to draft documents that encompass as many issues as possible, epilepsy and then some.
When a person’s cognitive ability is lacking or prevents them from doing certain things, I believe a strong approach to an estate plan is asking for help from the doctor offering care. In other words, asking a doctor to render a written medical opinion on whether a person is of sound mind. Then, asking the doctor to attach their favorable medical opinion to the patient’s chart or medical records.
Epilepsy Estate Plan Rules
Again, there isn’t a specific law exclusive to epilepsy. That said, Minnesota identifies a sound mind standard for people wishing to create a will under rule 524.2-501.
If a doctor cannot opine on the mental capacity of a person because capacity is lacking, very likely the sound mind standard I keep referencing is insufficient. Not always, but the process will be difficult.
On the other hand, a moment of clarity or a moment supporting a sound mind is all that is required. The trick is knowing about or finding this moment.
Epilepsy Estate Plans – Mental Capacity
I believe one of the better approaches to meet a mental threshold is asking a doctor to offer their written opinion. Without question, the doctor’s written medical opinion should be included as a condition of the will and including the doctor’s signature as support for validation. Why? To reduce the risk of a challenge.
Epilepsy Estate Issues – More Thoughts
We as human beings are doing the best we can to manage difficult scenarios. If we catch medical issues, this can help us plan accordingly. When we are surprised on a Tuesday afternoon, Minnesota supports a process for self-proved wills.
As you might guess, I am a huge proponent of planning. But, planning isn’t always possible. If everything seems to be falling apart at the same time, personally, I turn my attention towards acts of unconditional love and faith.
I wish you the very best.