2003 issue 4


Volume 12, issue 4

Case report

Erroneous assessment by expert psychiatrists as the cause of protraction of proceedings in annulment of will cases

Danuta Hajdukiewicz1
1. Kliniki Psychiatrii Sądowej Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Pruszkowie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2003, 12 (4), 479-487
Keywords: forensic psychiatric opinions, annulment of will, case report


Aim. The author presented conclusions from four court opinions prepared by successive expert psychiatrists (in that number two teams of experts from research centers). The expertises have contributed to protraction of proceedings in cases concerning invalidation of will.

Case reports. The experts did not take into account the errors made by their predecessors and recognised limited freedom of decision making and declaration of will, which is not provided for by regulations in testamentary cases. The third team, under the pressure of the court, declared that the limitations are equivalent to the exclusion of freedom of decision making. However; the fourth team assessed the mental status of the testatrix in a different way, namely stating that her capacity of conscious decision making had been limited so much that it was practically excluded, but limitations of her freedom of decision making had been insubstantial, if any.

Conclusions. In testamentary cases court experts must be aware of the nature of legal regulations concerning testamentary matters, the entire material in a given case must be thoroughly analysed and assessments should be made with caution, but reliably and after careful consideration.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Danuta Hajdukiewicz. Klinika Psychiatrii Sądowej Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii,
ul. Partyzantów 2/4, 05-802 Pruszków