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Proving undue influence in a will contest

On Behalf of | May 2, 2022 | Estate & Trust Disputes

There are several reasons a will may be contested. One of them is if the person who made the will, known as the testator, was a victim of undue influence and the will does not reflect their true wishes. This may happen when another person uses their position of trust to influence or manipulate the testator into acting in a certain way.

Undue influence is often discovered when the will is read, and the beneficiaries realize something is wrong. Since the testator may not be around to shed light on the matter, how can you go about proving undue influence?

It may not be so straightforward

Proving undue influence can be difficult since it happens behind closed doors. However, since the burden of proof lies on you, there are things you may point out to the court to show that the testator was under undue pressure or influence when making the will.

The most important thing you need to establish is that the influencer was in a position to manipulate or coerce the testator, and they took advantage of the situation to benefit themselves. For instance, if the person who made the will was dependent on the influencer, probably owing to an illness or incapacitation, it might prove your point. 

Additionally, if the will left some beneficiaries out or included unexpected people without obvious explanations, it may be a case of undue influence.

Protecting your interests

If you suspect undue influence, it is necessary to act before it’s too late. As a beneficiary of the estate, you stand to lose the most if assets go to the wrong people. Knowing how to prove undue influence will ensure your interests are protected and that the will is invalidated if it does not represent your loved one’s last wishes.