≡ Menu

What Is Undue Influence for the Purposes of a Westchester County Will Contest?

Does Your Loved One’s Will Express Their True Wishes?

There are limited ways to dispute a will in Westchester County. Usually, one may have numerous ways to dispute it because of the testator’s mental condition at the time of execution of the will and because of the interference of a third party. One of the more common arguments used to dispute a will is that undue influence was used, meaning that the testator was pressured or manipulated into substituting the desires of someone else when writing their will, as opposed to writing a will that contained what they actually wanted to be in it. If you suspect that undue influence was used when it comes to something bequeathed in your loved one’s will, call a Westchester estate attorney to assist you in your case so that you have the best chance of succeeding.

Undue influence is the legal term that means that someone used pressure or manipulation against the testator to substitute the testator’s free will when writing their will with the undue influencer’s desires. Undue influence must be proven by the preponderance of the evidence by the person that is objecting to the will, meaning that the evidence must show that it is more likely than not that undue influence was used. However, proving undue influence can be difficult, as it is not always obvious or out in the open for witnesses to see.

There are different types of evidence that can be used to build a case of undue influence, but every case is different, meaning that there can be different evidence that can be successfully used depending on the facts of the case. Usually, undue influence would take place when someone in a situation of having a close relationship with the testator ends up having the testator’s will giving them an advantage over other people who normally would be included in the will. An example of this would be if an aid who assisted the testator is left everything and the testator’s children are left out of the will.

Stronger evidence of undue influence would be if one person uses mental or physical frailty of the testator to manipulate the testator into changing the will. One example of this may be through keeping the testator separate from his or her loved ones, either through forming a physical interference through not letting the testator have contact or through emotional estrangement through making the testator believe that his or her loved ones do not want to be involved in the testator’s life.

Some examples that can also be used as evidence would be a testator who is prone to being influenced, such as someone with a physical or mental illness that makes them frail or through the person influencing the testator having heavy control over the execution of the will, through possibly hiring a lawyer to write the will or telling that lawyer how the will should be written.

If you are changing your estate plan and are concerned that it may be objected to for undue influence, hiring a Westchester estate attorney who is skilled in collecting evidence that shows you are using your free will when executing your will is a must. You can have evidence through a videographer and a doctor when signing your will to make sure that you are in the right mind when executing and that the will is what your true desires are when it comes to distributing your estate.

If you are dealing with a will challenge and need to speak to an estate attorney in Westchester County, New York, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.