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3 signs of undue influence on a will

On Behalf of | May 5, 2020 | Probate |

When you find out you’ve been left out of a loved one’s will, you may feel betrayed and confused. While you aren’t out to profit from someone’s death, exclusion may seem like they didn’t consider you a part of their family. But if you have suspicions about the heirs left in the will, you may be able to take action.

If you think another beneficiary is exercising undue influence to take your share of the inheritance, you must prove to a probate court that your loved one faces pressure to change his or her will. However, you will need concrete evidence that the changes aren’t the desires of the person who created the will, the testator. Below are a few signs of undue influence in action.

Isolation controls who can communicate with the testator

If someone who stands to gain from the will isolates a testator, he or she may try to prevent other family members from finding out about changes to the inheritance. By stopping communication, the person can control the situation, thwarting anyone who would invalidate the new changes.

Controlling communication with the attorney

To ensure that provisions in the will change, an influencer may try to communicate with the attorney who helped create it. If the person starts calling the attorney or goes to the law office with the testator, he or she may be trying to get the changes done by a professional to make them seem more legitimate.

Trading good deeds for bad ones

Instead of exerting force, an influencer may also try to sweeten the deal for the testator. If a family member starts taking an active role in a testator’s life, he or she may be using leverage to coerce the testator to make changes.

Sacrifices for time or caregiving could be less about being a good person and more about bargaining favors for more inheritance. And if the testator recently started losing mental capacity, the influencer may try to take advantage of that.

Only the testator should decide what’s in the will

Undue influence can cause your loved one to go against his or her wishes when writing a will. Regardless of what you receive as a beneficiary, you want to ensure the testator had the last say in bequeathing property.

By recognizing the signs of undue influence, you may be able to prevent your loved one from giving everything to the wrong person.