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  • Charles Baker

Undue Influence: Definition & What You Should Know

Undue influence is defined as “unconscionable use by one person of power possessed by them over another in order to induce the other to enter a contract.” It happens when improper use of power and trust deprives victims of their free will.

In terms of contracts relating to estates and wills, undue influence is when a person exercises control over the other, preventing them from acting intelligently and voluntarily to constrain the person to act in a way they wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the influence exerted.

If you believe you have a claim under the doctrine of undue influence, an estate litigation lawyer may be able to help you out. Below, we’ve summarized some requirements of undue influence and how an estate litigation lawyer could help you with a claim.

Requirements Of Undue Influence

Previous cases have defined several relevant circumstances to establish an undue influence claim. These include:

  • Increasing social isolation of the testator

  • The testator’s dependence on the alleged influencer for their physical and emotional needs

  • Substantial pre-death transfers from the testator to the alleged influencer

  • The testator(s) express but apparently unfounded concerns that they are running out of money

  • The testator’s failure to provide a reason or explanation for leaving an entire estate to the alleged influencer and/or choosing to exclude family members who would have been expected to inherit

  • Documented statements that the testator was afraid of the suspected influence

How An Estate Litigation Lawyer Can Help

An estate litigation lawyer will be able to help if you’re concerned that an individual is influencing your loved one. The doctrine of undue influence was founded on the principle of “saving people from being victimized by others,” meaning an estate litigation lawyer can help protect your loved one.

A lawyer must be conscious of potential undue influence in transactions and the creation of a Last Will and Testament, meaning they will be aware of possible indicators that undue influence is being exerted. These indicators include:

  • A socially isolated testator

  • A testator who has recently experienced family conflict or bereavement

  • A testator who has created a new will that is not consistent with prior wills

  • A testator who has made changes, like power of attorney, alongside changes to a will

In claims of undue influence, the legal burden of proof is upon the claimant. An estate litigation lawyer will be able to help you collect evidence and build your case to ensure that you win your claim.

An estate litigation lawyer will be able to provide you with professional legal advice about your claim and represent you every step of the way. They will work with you to make the process easy and stress-free at such a distressing time.

Do You Need An Estate Litigation Lawyer In Newmarket? Contact Baker Doodnauth Today.

Do you suspect undue influence has impacted your loved one’s will? An estate litigation lawyer may be able to help you out with your claim.

Baker Doodnauth is a family and civil law firm serving residents of Newmarket and the surrounding areas. We’re a dedicated team with experience in handling cases like this, so get in contact today to see how we could help you out.

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