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Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10796
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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How long is a doctor's letter/certificate of compos mentis

Resolved Question:

How long is a doctor's letter/certificate of compos mentis for an 83 year old man valid for?
ie. A doctor's letter was written up, stating specifically, it was being used for the purpose of an inheritance/transfer of a farm, at a said address. But 13 days later, a Will is signed by the same man.
Does that same doctor's letter, meet the requirements/standards of the High Court(ROI)?
The question is being asked in the context of a contested Will which, could, or will, go to the High Court.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Will in question, willed shares to the value of approximately 1.5 million euros, in 2007, to the same person, as the said property was transferred to.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
1. You need to realise at the outset, there is no hard and fast rule for how long a doctor's letter of compos mentis lasts for. it is a question of fact in the instant case. Proper solicitor's practice when making a will for an 83 year old man with dodgy mental faculties is to do a psychiatrists/doctor's letter the same day the will is being signed. That is what the leading textbooks on practice for solicitors require. However, the person who wants to contest the will must have some evidence which suggests that the 83 year old man was not of sound mind when he signed the will. Essentially, it becomes a contest of fact as to whether the 83 year old man was of sound mind. The 13 day old letter from the doctor is good evidence but it is not conclusive as it was not immediately contemporaneous with the making of the will. So whoever, is challenging the will must have some medical evidence or good factual evidence from this time that the 83 year old man was not of sound mind. This is the only way they will win the case. Be aware additionally, that a doctor's letter is not of as good evidence as that of a psychiatric professional. BEst solicitor's practice would use a psychiatric professional not a doctor.
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