Attorney Jeffrey P. Coleman describes what ‘undue influence’ means and how it plays a part in a will contest case.
‘Undue influence’ is one of the ways that a contestant can seek to have a will set aside.
‘Undue influence’ means that someone improperly affected the deceased person in the preparation of the will.
One of the signs of undue influence is a special relationship that might be different from a family relationship.
The examples we sometimes see are individuals who’ve become separated from their family, individuals who might be procuring a will who prevent the deceased person from dealing with their other family members and staying involved in the natural beneficiaries that they might have.
Undue influence can be determined in a will contest based upon whether someone exercised improper or ‘undue influence’ over the deceased person in getting them to sign a will. The court will also look at whether the individual who sign the will had some diminished level of capacity and therefore was more subject( or more easily encouraged) to sign a will through undue influence.