There are several reasons that a will could be invalidated by the courts. One of the most commonly cited is undue influence. Proving that there is grounds for this argument can be challenging. If you are planning to contest a will based on undue influence, here is what you need to know.
When Does Undue Influence Occur?
If you are arguing undue influence, you are claiming that the deceased was somehow unfairly influenced by another person into making the estate planning decisions he or she made. For instance, if the deceased was dependent on the other person for his or her needs, you could claim that the dependency led to the deceased leaving all of his or her assets to the influencer.
Undue influence usually results in one person being named as the beneficiary while others are left out. For instance, if a friend is given most of the assets of the deceased while children and siblings are left out, this could be a sign of undue influence.
It is important to note that someone influencing the decisions of another is not always cause for a will to be tossed by the court. However, if the deceased was in a position that he or she was unable to make decisions on his or her own due to illness or dependency, there could be an issue.
What Do You Have to Prove?
Since you are contesting the will, you are charged with proving that there was undue influence. This can be challenging. You must prove that the deceased was susceptible to being influenced. You could draw attention to his or her health, state of mind, or age to make the case that he or she was vulnerable to being influenced.
You also have to prove that the distribution of the estate was unnatural. For instance, if the deceased left out all immediate family members, this would be considered unnatural.
If you have copies of previous wills, you can provide them to the court. If the previous versions of the will were significantly different, you could argue that the last will did not fall in line with the deceased's wishes for the distribution of his or her estate due to the influence of someone else.
To determine if you have a case, consult with a law firm that handles estate planning. A law firm can review the details of the case and the evidence and help you determine how to proceed.Share
3 May 2017
I was blessed to have grown up in a home with loving supportive parents. They both worked extremely hard in order for me and my sister to enjoy a better life than they had. Financially, they bought me a new car when I was sixteen. They also paid for my college expenses. Many parents do the same for their kids. They want to provide for them in the present while safeguarding their futures. One way parents can invest in their kids’ futures is by placing money in trusts that their children can utilize when they reach a certain age. A reputable attorney can establish beneficial trusts for your kids. On this blog, you will learn about the benefits of consulting with an attorney about setting up trusts for your children.