Undue influence is among the reasons the court can revoke a will. It occurs when the person making the will (the testator) is coerced, tricked or manipulated into making decisions without their free will.
If you believe your loved one’s will was executed under undue influence, you can contest its validity in probate court to protect your inheritance. However, the burden of proof is on you to show how undue influence played a part in making the will. Here is what you need to know.
Proving undue influence in a will contest
Several factors must be established when proving undue influence. First, it must be demonstrated that the testator was vulnerable to the influence of another party. It can be due to a variety of factors, such as illness, disability or old age.
Second, it must be shown that the party exerting the influence had the opportunity and capacity to do so. For instance, they may have had a close relationship with the testator, like a caregiver, a trusted family member or someone in a position of power or authority.
Finally, it must be demonstrated that the party exerting the influence used their position of power or trust to interfere with the testator’s free will and benefit themselves. This can be proven by showing that the changes were inconsistent with the testator’s wishes or disproportionately benefited the party exerting the influence.
Get the necessary help
Proving undue influence when contesting a will is difficult since the evidence is often circumstantial and based on witness testimony. In addition, there are specific deadlines you must observe if you are planning to contest a will.
Therefore, it is advisable to have experienced legal representation to help you gather relevant evidence, argue your case and increase the chances of a successful outcome.