Have you ever heard of someone trying to control how a person writes their will? This is called “undue influence.” If someone is found guilty of this, a court might decide not to follow the will. This article will explain the factors that courts look at to decide if there has been undue influence.
The Relationship Between the People
First, courts will look at how close the people are. If someone who benefits from the will has a lot of control over the person who wrote the will, the court might think there was undue influence. For example, if a caregiver gets a lot of money in the will, the court might think the caregiver pressured the person to write the will that way.
The Person’s State of Mind
Next, the court will look at the person’s state of mind when they wrote the will. If the person was sick, tired, or confused, the court might think someone took advantage of them. This is especially true if the person was very old or had a disease that made it hard for them to think clearly.
Changes to the Will or Trust
Another thing the court will look at is if there were any big changes to the will or trust. If the person changed their will right before they died, it might be because someone pressured them. The court will look at how much the changes benefit the person who might have used undue influence.
Secret or Unusual Actions
If someone secretly helped the person write their will, the court might think there was undue influence. This is especially true if the person usually did not make important decisions without help from family or a lawyer. The court will also look at how the will was written. If the person did not follow the normal steps for making a will, it might be a sign that someone pressured them.
The Will Goes Against What the Person Wanted
Lastly, the court will think about what the person wanted for their will. If the will is very different from what the person said they wanted, the court might think there was undue influence. For example, if the person always said they wanted to give money to their kids, but their will gives all the money to their caregiver, the court might think the caregiver used undue influence.
Undue influence is a serious issue. It can make a will or trust unfair. Courts look at many factors to decide if there has been undue influence. They think about the relationship between the people, the person’s state of mind, changes to the will or trust, secret or unusual actions, and if the will goes against what the person wanted. If you think someone used undue influence to change a will, talk to a lawyer. They can help you figure out if you have a case.