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Steps to take if you suspect undue influence in a family will

The death of a loved one is always difficult — discovering their will does not seem to reflect their life or expressed wishes can make things even worse. Now, you must wonder if someone interfered with your loved one’s final wishes and if you should challenge the will.

This is called undue influence in the realm of estate planning. If you can prove it happened to your family member, you may be able to contest the will, safeguarding your loved one’s true preferences. Here are some steps to take if considering a will contest based on undue influence.

Consult a representative

Before you start building your case, consider taking your story to a representative. They can help you determine if you have grounds to challenge the will and represent you throughout the process.

Gather evidence

Collect documents related to the will, including previous versions and any communication about its creation. Note inconsistencies or suspicious changes. Look for financial records showing unexplained gifts or transfers to the alleged influencer.

Consider the relationship

Was the influencer someone your loved one trusted, like a caregiver, friend, or new romantic partner? Did their relationship significantly influence your loved one’s life decisions?

Evaluate Mental Capacity

Did your loved one exhibit signs of mental decline, isolation or pressure during the will’s creation? Medical records or witness testimonies can be helpful here.

You have the burden of proving your case, but if the following conditions apply, the court may side with you.

  • The influencer was close to the deceased
  • They helped write the will
  • They received an unusually large estate share

When you have legitimate concerns, a representative can lend an experienced hand, preserving your loved one’s assets and final wishes.