Sound Mind And Memory Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Sound Mind And Memory, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Sound Mind And Memory?

(n) An agreement is legally enforceable only when it is done without external influences. An unsound mind and memory may lead to a decision which one should not have taken in normal course and hence such agreements are treated as void. The parties to an agreement declare that they are in ‘sound mind and memory’ to show that they are doing it with full consciousness of mind to make it a legally enforceable agreement. The phrase is generally used when documenting the ‘Will’.

History and Meaning of Sound Mind And Memory

The legal term "sound mind and memory" refers to the mental state of an individual who is in a clear and rational state of mind when making important legal decisions. This phrase is often used when documenting a will or other legally binding agreements. A person must be in a sound state of mind and memory to be able to create and execute a legally binding contract. A person that cannot show they are in sound mind and memory may have their decisions challenged in court.

The origins of this legal term can be traced back to English common law. The concept arose from the idea that individuals must be competent to make legally binding contractual agreements. The term has since been adopted by American law and is frequently used in the context of wills and other legal documents.

Examples of Sound Mind And Memory

  1. In order to make a legally binding will, the testator must be of sound mind and memory at the time the will is created and executed.

  2. When executing a contract, both parties should declare that they are of sound mind and memory in order for the agreement to be legally enforceable.

  3. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be deemed to not be of sound mind and may have their decisions challenged in court.

Legal Terms Similar to Sound Mind And Memory

  • Competence: the ability of an individual to understand the nature and consequences of their actions and to make rational decisions.
  • Testamentary capacity: the legal ability of a person to make or alter a will.
  • Mental capacity: the ability of an individual to understand and make decisions about their personal affairs.