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Kennedy KM, O'Riordan J, Mannion E and Beatty S
European Journal of Palliative Care
Testamentary Capacity and Palliative Care: Helping patients implement estate planning
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The European Association for Palliative Care defines palliative care as the ‘total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment’, including ‘control of pain, of other symptoms and of social, psychological and spiritual problems’.1 Thus, multidisciplinary palliative care endeavours to address, in a holistic fashion, each of a patient’s individual biopsychosocial needs. On occasion, such care will involve supporting a patient in their desire to make a will or change an existing will. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence quality standard on end of life care for adults advises that social support ‘should include … support with legal and practical affairs such as wills’.2 In this regard, a palliative care physician may be requested to formally assess a patient’s testamentary capacity. This legal term is used to describe the mental capacity required in order to make a valid will. Given that an assessment of this capacity may have very significant financial implications for others, there is considerable potential for subsequent litigation. © Hayward Medical Communications 2017. All rights reserved.
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