Were you expecting an inheritance from a loved one but later found out that you were cut out of his or her will? If so, then we know that you’re dealing with a lot of emotions right now. You’re probably confused and angry, and you might not know where to go from here. But when such unexpected events occur, you need to carefully look at the surrounding circumstances to consider whether you can challenge the will in question so that you can receive the inheritance that you were expecting.
What constitutes undue influence?
One way to go about challenging a will is to argue that the will’s creator was subjected to undue influence. Undue influence is the abuse of a relationship to persuade or threaten an individual to act in a certain way. In other words, the persuasion and influence are so strong that they overcome the will and the will creator’s ability to act intelligently and voluntarily is taken away.
It’s important to recognize that undue influence isn’t merely a single event, but rather is an ongoing process that can span months or even years. Since offering unsolicited advice and opinions alone doesn’t constitute undue influence, many of these cases center on individuals who suffer from mental confusion or rely on someone to assist them with daily living activities. The individuals who exert undue influence oftentimes then use their position of power to distance the will creator from their children and other family members, all in hopes of wedging themselves into the will.
Proving your undue influence case
Proving undue influence is no simple matter. After all, the person who created the will is no longer around to testify about the pressure he or she was under. This means that to succeed on an undue influence claim you’ll likely have to have strong evidence from other people who knew your loved one and what he or she wanted out of his or her estate plan. If you’d like to discuss how undue influence might apply to your set of facts, then consider reaching out to a legal professional who is experienced in this area of the law.