Undue influence is one of the grounds for contesting a will. It happens when someone interferes with the free will or judgment of the owner of a will (the testator) through underhand tactics like coercion, excessive persuasion or trickery.
If you believe your loved one was unduly influenced into making decisions against their wishes when creating a will, you may challenge its validity in court. But how can you show that your loved one was a victim of undue influence? Here is what you need to do.
Establish your loved one’s vulnerability
The first step in proving undue influence is establishing that the testator was vulnerable to undue influence. The testator’s vulnerability makes it easier for someone to exert undue influence over them. It can be due to physical or mental illness, emotional distress or other factors that can impair a person’s judgment.
Demonstrate the perpetrator’s ability to exert undue influence
The next step is identifying the person who unduly influenced your loved one and demonstrating their ability to do so. It may have been a caregiver, a family member or a friend who had close relations with the testator. You need to show that the perpetrator had control or domination over your loved one and could have easily used their position of trust to pursue self-interests.
Show how they stood to gain from their actions
You also need to show how the perpetrator stood to benefit by unduly influencing your loved one. For instance, they may have been poised to gain a larger estate share. You could also rely on circumstantial evidence, such as the timing of the changes to the will or the fact that the changes were not in line with your loved one’s known wishes.
It is important to seek help in navigating the legal process and building a strong case if you are considering contesting a will. The proper guidance could significantly increase your chances of a successful outcome and ensure you protect your inheritance.