You believe that your loved one’s will cannot possibly reflect their real intentions. You feel very strongly that they were either coerced or bullied into making changes that negatively affect you – and you plan to challenge the will based on another party’s “undue influence.”
Since the only two people who probably were around when the undue influence occurred were likely the person you suspect of exerting and the family member you suspect was victimized, it seems like it will be hard to prove your case.
That’s where circumstantial evidence comes in.
What is circumstantial evidence?
The reality is that there are rarely eyewitness accounts of bad acts because the bad actors are smarter than that. Many cases are proven through the use of circumstantial evidence, instead. Circumstantial evidence is any kind of evidence that gives rise to logical inferences that indirectly prove the facts of the case.
For example, imagine that you step outside of your office building and the sky seems clear. However, there are some large puddles on the ground that weren’t there when you first went inside, and there are people huddled under the dripping canopy of a bus stop. Several of them are wet and a few are still shaking off their umbrellas. You may not have seen the rain falling from a spring shower, but the circumstantial evidence around you tells you that it happened.
In a case of undue influence, circumstantial evidence can include:
- Medical records that show your loved one was in a serious physical or mental decline (or both) when the new will was made, either of which could have made them vulnerable.
- Financial records that show how your loved one’s money and resources were gradually being drained via mysterious transfers or withdrawals by the person you suspect.
- Communication records that show how the person you suspect of undue influence acted as a “gatekeeper” to your loved one before they died.
If you suspect undue influence led to an altered will, don’t hesitate to act. There may be a lot more evidence than you think out there that will support your position. Experienced legal guidance is essential.