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What Are The Grounds For Proving Undue lnfluence?

Posted: Monday, 23 November 2020 @ 11:30

One of the grounds for overturning a will is undue influence and there have been many attempts over the years to define undue influence but irrespective of any legal definition, a key element of undue influence is coercion. 

The burden of proof lies on the person who alleges that there has been undue influence. The difficulty is that there is unlikely to be any direct evidence of undue influence as it tends to happen behind closed doors and the main witness would have been the testator.

However here are some factors which help define this.

The following is a list of potentially relevant factors:

  • the testator’s level of dependency on the influencer;
  • the frequency and nature of the testator’s contact with the influencer; the testator’s personality and behaviour;
  • the influencer’s personality and behaviour;
  • the testator’s relationship with others, especially if the testator became more isolated; whether the will was a departure from earlier wills;
  • whether a solicitor was involved in drafting a will;
  • who contacted and communicated with the solicitor if used; how and what instructions were given in respect of the will.

If you have some/more of these elements going on, then you may have a claim for undue influence.