Use of legal terms in will contests: implications for psychiatrists.
D. J. Sprehe and A. L. Kerr,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
24(2): 255-65, 1996.
This article reviews legal concepts involved in challenges to wills and how wills are influenced by
psychiatric testimony. The outcome of litigation in certain landmark cases and in cases from the
extensive experience of the first author is discussed. Clarifications of legal terms of art such as "lucid
interval," "testamentary capacity," "undue influence," and "insane delusion" are offered. Pre-death
psychiatric evaluations are becoming increasingly important in an aging population more susceptible
to mental impairment.