Will Contest cases are often based on a claim of undue influence.
The opportunity to use undue influence by itself is not enough to make a will invalid. There must be evidence that the influence was not only present but was in fact exerted in connection with the making of the will. In most cases, the exertion of undue influence is subtle and by its very nature usually involves an extended course of dealings and circumstances.
Influence is not undue unless it destroys the maker’s freedom to choose and the will that is created by undue influence benefits someone that would not have so benefited otherwise.
The acts of undue influence must have been so excessive that they destroyed the will of the maker through force, duress, intimidation, excessive pleading, or deception used to try to destroy or overcome the maker’s will and induce the maker to sign the will that is not what the maker really wanted.
Potential witnesses of undue influence being made on the maker of the will might be close friends of the deceased, family members, family doctors, home health care providers, clergy, hairdresser, manicurist, and others the maker trusted or confided in.
Because no two undue influence cases are the same, the outcome of any case turns on its own unique facts.
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