A loved one’s death is difficult to deal with, but when you get to probate and find that he or she made changes to a plan you were familiar with before, it may come as a shock. When a will undergoes a substantial and surprising change, your loved one may have done so as a result of undue influence.
Going back, you may recognize some signs that manipulation was at play in your loved one’s declining moments. Undue influence may become a basis for a will challenge in probate should you have the evidence required.
What is undue influence?
Undue influence occurs when someone takes advantage of another’s mental or physical state to steal from them. The perpetrator uses manipulation to gain false trust with the victim. Over time, the manipulator gains access to the victim’s finances by convincing the victim to give it to them, gaining access to accounts and taking it or via a change in the victim’s will.
What are the main elements of an undue influence challenge?
When you decide to go after someone you feel has benefited from your loved one’s death through undue influence, you need to have evidence of the act.
- You need to establish a relationship existed between your loved one and the perpetrator.
- The judge will want evidence that the victim was vulnerable to persuasion.
- You should establish a pattern of either isolation or escalating aggressive behavior between the victim and perpetrator that may have led to the change in will.
Proving undue influence may require you to gain the assistance of a professional who has handled this type of probate process before.