Undue influence is one of the many reasons a court can nullify a will. It happens when the person making a will (the testator) is coerced or persuaded to act against their wishes by another. For example, a caregiver may use their position of trust to influence the testator to leave them more property than they would initially have.
When this happens, the estate might end up in the wrong hands, and beneficiaries can get less than they deserve.
How can you show undue influence?
Since your loved one may no longer be around to testify, proving undue influence is not so easy. You may have to rely on circumstantial evidence to show that it happened. Nevertheless, some indicators could be a sign that something went wrong.
If there were sudden, unexpected last changes made to the will before the death of the testator, different from what they communicated, it could be a case of undue influence. Similarly, if another person stood to inherit a small portion of the estate or nothing at all, yet they end up with a significant part of it, it could be a sign of undue influence.
Remember, the burden of proof is on you to show that your loved one was unduly influenced. Therefore, you have to prove to the court that the person who deceitfully influenced your loved one to modify their will was in a position to do that, and they did it to benefit themselves.
The court will also consider other circumstances such as the age and health of the testator as well as their mental or physical ability to make decisions on their own.
Preparing for a will contest
It is crucial that you get everything right, especially from a legal perspective. There is more to undue influence than mere persuasion, but if you are well prepared and know what you need to do when contesting the will, it will increase your chances of a desirable outcome.