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
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.