What is undue influence?

Creating an estate plan is a personal decision from the creator. They shouldn’t be influenced by other people for any reason. There is a chance that a person’s estate plan might come into question after they pass away because of a claim of undue influence. This means that someone claims the person was coerced into making the will or establishing trusts in a specific manner.

Contesting the estate plan based on undue influence will take some work, but it could mean that it is found to be invalid. The court must work to ensure that the estate is handled in the manner that the creator actually wants it to be.

In order to prove that undue influence was a factor, you have to show that the person who was influencing the creator was a stronger party. It is wholly possible for a doctor, caregiver or family member to coerce the creator. There are legal guidelines for what’s acceptable within these relationships.

One thing to consider when trying to determine whether you have the backing to contest the estate plan is the reason for the undue influence. Is the other party benefiting from the changes that were made? If they are and you can show that they did influence the change, you may have a successful challenge.

These cases are often very challenging, not only because of the legal aspects of them, but also because they pit family members against each other. If you think that your loved one’s estate plan isn’t what they truly wanted and feel you need to contest it, be sure you consider how this might impact your family relationships. If you decide that following your loved one’s wishes is more important, you can challenge the estate plan in court.