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What can I do about undue influence?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Estate Litigation |

Undue influence is a fraudulent act where a person resorts to duress, force or coercion to impact another person’s action and decision. This often happens when a party gets the concerned individual to change the will to benefit them, taking advantage of the testator’s trust or mental incapacity.

If you suspect undue influence and are considering contesting a will, it is essential that you know how to build your case.

Proving influence

Finding signs of undue influence will generally strengthen your case. An indicator is when the accused party stands to receive substantial benefit from the revised will. The party having an isolated relationship with the testator or providing instructions to an attorney during the drafting of the will may also point to undue influence.

If the testator was incapacitated, mentally unstable or was on medication that clouded their judgement when they changed their will, you may have a compelling case to take to the court.

Gathering evidence

Proving this type of case is not always easy. After all, it involves providing strong evidence to suggest that the victim was either incapable of sound judgment or was forced to make an unwanted amendment to their will by another party. This will require various pieces of evidence, such as testimonies from fact witnesses, documents like estate planning and medical records, and statements from medical experts.

Pursuing your case

Contesting a will and proving undue influence are complex endeavors. An estate planning attorney can recommend the next steps to take regarding the issue. These steps may include creating an inventory of the testator’s fiduciaries and assets, securing appropriate and relevant documents and even taking the matter to court. These steps help better ensure the protection of the testator’s and their beneficiary’s rights.