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December 9, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXIII(24):1498. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450760054008

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The question of the testamentary capacity of a person suffering from aphasia in one of its forms, is, it is said, to be brought up before a New York court. Such cases have occurred before, but they are sufficiently unusual to be noticed in the lay press and have some medical interest. So far, however, as legal precedents exist they are of no real value whatever; the question is exclusively a medical one and each case is a law unto itself. It is entirely possible for a sufferer from aphasia to be of sound and devising mind so far as the disposal of his property is concerned; medical evidence must decide how far mental impairment existed and whether it affected testamentary capacity or the power of expression sufficiently to invalidate a will. There is a certain presumption that mental capacity may be affected when so important a function as that

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