WHILE many branches of the law impinge on the practice of psychiatry, only four will be considered in this paper. These are (1) wills; (2) business contracts; (3) marriage, divorce and annulment, and (4) crimes.
A person making a will must (1) know that he is making a will, (2) know the nature and extent of his property and (3) know the natural objects of his bounty. These are the three "tests" which, in a sense, the patient must "pass" before he is considered mentally competent to make a will. The psychiatrist must measure the subject by these three tests. Their meaning may now be considered.1. Obviously, the testator must know what he is doing when he signs the will. If the psychiatrist is told, on a hypothetic question, that when the will was signed the patient was toxic, dehydrated, feverish, confused and unable to talk, that his