Why Is Neuropsychological Assessment Important In Probate Litigations


Why Is Neuropsychological Assessment Important In Probate Litigations

May 31, 2022, 7:45:30 AM Life and Styles

The right of an individual to make a legal document to properly distribute their property among their family members after their death has been recognized in Western civilization for centuries.

Such a document is referred to as Will.

However, the legal requirement of the Will to be considered a valid document has changed over time. In fact, it still varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction today.

One of the central requirements for a Will to be considered valid is the necessity of the individual making the Will have a testamentary capacity at the time.

People can do anything to get their property on their names. To ensure family members are not threatening the owner of the Will or manipulating them to add their name for the property distribution, a forensic neuropsychology expert is called to test the testamentary capacity of the individual.

What Is A Forensic Neuropsychological Evaluation?

A forensic neuropsychological evaluation is similar to a clinical neuropsychological evaluation. They both utilize cognitive tests to determine a patient's current brain health and in-depth assessment of skills and abilities related to brain functions.

This evaluation mostly focuses on the following.

  • Problem-solving capabilities.
  • Areas of attention.
  • Memory capacity.
  • Visual-spatial skills.
  • Social-emotional functioning.
  • IQ level.

You must understand that this evaluation is not about who the person is. The only goal of Forensic neuropsychological evaluation is to ensure the individual was in the right mind while creating the Will.

When Is A Forensic Neuropsychological Evaluation Needed?

A Forensic Neuropsychological evaluation is recommended for any civil, criminal, and probate litigation. Forensic evaluation is conducted whenever there is any uncertainty on brain impairment that has been taken advantage of for this case.

Forensic Neuropsychological is mostly used to identify and quantify any kind of brain damage. If the reports state any kind of damage, the issuance of care can be ordered. 

This forensic report plays an important role in any litigation. There is always a possibility of a person being used because of the incapability of their judgment and thinking process. 

Forensic Neuropsychology evaluations are often instrumental in criminal cases to prove:

  • The competence of the stand trial.
  • The cognitive capacity of the individual at the time of creating Will.
  • Presence of mitigating factor of sentencing purpose.

While the field of civil and criminal cases was using Forensic Neuropsychological evaluation for decades, this has now become quite popular in probate litigations.

Why Is It necessary in Probate Litigations

Probate courts always deal with family conflicts over the dead person's property. If the amount of property is less, people will be happy to get whatever Will states.

However, people can try underhanded tactics if we are talking about properties like houses, cars, and millions of dollars in bank accounts.

To ensure that the Will is not tampered with in any way possible, the investigation is done. The investigation goes through different processes and uses different methods. One of the method count values is the use of Forensic Neuropsychological evaluation. 

This document helps the case with the following.

1. Ensure The Will Is Made With A Sane Mind

A Will determines what property is given to whom. This is an important decision that one can’t make on a fluke or under any kind of influence.

A Forensic Neuropsychological evaluation helps to determine whether or not the individual is in their right mind while creating the Will.

2. Determine The Cognitive Strength & Weaknesses Of The individual

If the person creating a Will has any neurological issues in the past. The court might order them to provide a Forensic Neurological evaluation certificate. This is to ensure that the cognitive functions have changed and to what extent.

3. Ensure That The Individual Is Not Manipulated

Sometimes, the individual creates the Will under extreme pressure from their family members. This is done to manipulate the Will and get most of the property for themselves.

A forensic Neuropsychological evaluation can catch those manipulation threats by measuring the traumatic stress.


Most Forensic neurological tests are standardized and remain the same for every individual. In fact, the reports are norm-referenced, which means the reports will be compared to the other patients of the same age.

This is where we conclude our article. If you find this article helpful, share it with others so that they can also learn new things. And if there are any queries related to Forensic Neurological Evaluation, comment below.

Published by Arina Smith

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