I suspect someone was unduly influenced when they wrote their Will – what can I do?
You might be concerned that undue influence has been exerted on someone when they executed their Will. For example, a beneficiary may have been unexpectedly excluded or another beneficiary received a surprisingly large gift.
There may be a valid reason for the decision, even if it is a strange or unpopular one. However, it is also possible that the deceased’s decision making process was undermined by the influence of another when they executed the Will. If this is the case, it is possible for the disputed Will to be ruled invalid on the grounds of undue influence.
The court will always consider the individual facts of each case. They need to be satisfied that there was genuine coercion, which goes beyond normal persuasion or inducement – it is not enough to show that the facts of a case are consistent with undue influence.
Whilst it is often difficult to demonstrate undue influence, in cases where such activity is expected, there are often other challenges that can be made to the disputed Will – for example, that the deceased did not know and approve of the contents of the disputed Will or that the deceased lacked capacity to make the Will.
It is also possible to assert that undue influence has been exerted as a means of challenging the validity of other documents, such as trusts or the appointment of attorneys under an EPA or LPA.
If you are concerned that a Will may have been affected by undue influence please contact Philip Youdan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about Will disputes and disputes involving trusts and estates please click here to view our Guide to Will Trust and Estate Disputes.. We can also discuss the possible options for funding your claim and may, in appropriate cases, be able to offer a “no win, no fee” arrangement or a fixed fee.