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Contesting a will: How to prove undue influence

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | Estate Litigation

If you believe your loved one was unduly influenced when writing their will, you can successfully contest it in the probate court. However, the burden of proof is on you to show how they were a victim of undue influence and that they did not freely make their last wishes.

Nevertheless, proving undue influence is not so easy. The law presumes that your loved one understood the implications of their will and that they were acting under their own free will. Here are the main elements of demonstrating undue influence.

The vulnerability of your loved one

The vulnerability of the testator may include old age, isolation, emotional distress, dependency or illness, among others. For a successful will contest, it must be proven that your loved one was vulnerable and that the influencer knew and took advantage of their situation.

The actions and tactics of the influencer

Mere persuasion may not amount to undue influence. The influencer must have used underhanded tactics to arm-twist or trick your loved one into acting in a certain way. Such tactics by the influencer may include intimidation, affection or control to access information for their benefit.

The authority of the influencer

Undue influence involves someone in a special relationship with the testator. They could be a family member, a care provider or a spiritual advisor, among other close and personal relationships.

The equity of their actions

It must be shown that the influencer benefited from unduly influencing your loved one. If they acquired property or assets from the estate from their actions, it could be valuable evidence to prove their wrongdoing.

Undue influence can rob you of your rightful inheritance. If you believe that the current will is not a true reflection of your loved one’s wishes, you need to take action and protect what’s yours.