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Can You Prove Undue Influence?


Out of all the grounds that allow a will/trust to be contested, undue influence is one of the most notable. Going over how undue influence can be proven, and speaking with a lawyer, will allow you to obtain the best possible outcome. 

What Is Undue Influence? 

Sometimes, one party takes advantage over another party due to this other party’s vulnerability. And, in taking advantage of this vulnerable party, the other party exerts undue influence over this party’s decision making.

Just as an example, if a woman with dementia is coerced into signing an estate plan by their caretaker, then this can be, and often is, considered undue influence, due to this woman being dependent on their caretaker.

A wide variety of reasons exist, regarding the “Why?” of undue influence. But, more often than not, a party exerts undue influence over another party for the sole purpose of obtaining financial gain.

Within the United States and, in turn, the state of Florida, estate planning documents signed while under undue influence can be contested and, if undue influence is found to be present, adjusted. 

What Are The Signs Of Undue Influence? 

A wide variety of signs can indicate that undue influence has been exerted on an individual and the estate plan that they have developed.

Some of the most notable signs that undue influence has been exerted are as follows:

  • The person who created the estate plan is dependent on another person for their care and/or wellbeing.
  • The person who created the estate plan is, or was, ill or disabled or dependent on medication.
  • The person who created the estate plan included unreasonable provisions with little, or no, explanation.

Just as an example of the latter item, if a close family member leaves a great deal of money to their caretaker, and there does not appear to be any precedence or basis for this decision, then undue influence may have been exerted.

Regarding the other two items, someone who is dependent on a caretaker, for example, or on a person who can supply certain substances that they require, may exert undue influence on the provisions within an estate plan. 

How Can You Prove Undue Influence? 

The act of proving undue influence can be quite challenging. But, with that being said, there are certain conditions that, if present, can be used to support the claim that undue influence has occurred:

  • The party accused of undue influence was present when the document was signed.
  • The party accused of undue influence recommended a lawyer to prepare the estate plan documents.
  • The party accused of undue influence spoke to the lawyer directly regarding those documents.
  • The party accused of undue influence obtained witnesses for the signing of these documents.
  • The party accused of undue influence received major benefits due to the provisions within the estate plan.

If the above signs are present, then an estate plan can be contested on grounds of undue influence. And, if undue influence is found to have affected that estate plan, then the affected estate planning document will become void. 

Speak With A Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Today 

If you suspect that undue influence has been exerted, in the creation of a will/trust, then you must speak with a Florida estate planning lawyer at the Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group. We will assist you in proving undue influence and obtaining the ideal outcome.




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