Section 5501 defines mental incapacity as:
5501. Meaning of incapacitated person. "Incapacitated person" means an adult whose ability to receive and evaluate information effectively and communicate decisions in any way is impaired to such a significant extent that he is partially or totally unable to manage his financial resources or to meet essential requirements for his physical health and safety. (accessible here- http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/PDF/20/20.PDF)
A review of case law can help one understand when a court will determine a person to be of sufficient mental capacity for executing legal documents:
In re Estate of Woods: (here)
In the instant case, the record indicates that although Mrs. Wood's memory is seriously impaired, she is aware that the Bank is managing her assets and she has consistently maintained that she wants to entrust her money to the Bank rather than to appellant's wife. Moreover, the psychiatrist who interviewed Mrs. Wood concluded that she was capable of choosing a financial representative. Under these circumstances, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by finding that appellant did not clearly 181*181 and convincingly prove that Mrs. Wood is incompetent within the meaning of the statute.
Horner v Horner (here)
We conclude that sufficient capacity is shown where the donor demonstrates an intelligent perception and understanding of the dispositions made of property and the persons and objects he desires shall be the recipients of his bounty.
"Old age, sickness, distress or debility of body do not prove ... incapacity, nor do inability to transact business, physical weakness, ... or failure of memory." Id. at 67, 153 A. at 139 (internal citations omitted). See also Jones v. Schaefer, 357 Pa. 628, 637, 55 A.2d 387, 391 (1947) (concluding that eighty-two year old donor's debilitated physical condition, suffering from kidney disturbance, glandular enlargement and generalized arteriosclerosis did not "so reduce his mental capacity ... as to justify a court's deciding that his acts [in making gift of real estate] can be given no legal effect"). Our consideration of Pennsylvania jurisprudence reveals that similar measures apply to a determination of testamentary capacity. See In re Kuzma's Estate, 487 Pa. 91, 408 A.2d 1369 (1979) (concluding that testator possesses adequate capacity "if he knows those who are the natural objects of his bounty, of what his estate consists, and what he desires done with it even though his memory may have been impaired by age or disease"). See also In re Ziel's Estate, 467 Pa. 531, 359 A.2d 728 (1976)(concluding that greater degree of proof of mental incapacity is required to set aside will on ground of lack of testamentary capacity than is necessary to show inability to conduct one's business affairs).
A few minutes please.