What is “undue influence” in estate planning?

by | Jan 30, 2021 | Estate Planning

If you have a concern about whether a Florida loved one’s will may have been prepared with undue influence from another individual, it is important to understand the legal parameters that you will be dealing with. One thing that the law does not protect against is a loved one making what you believe to be unwise choices as part of their estate plan. Even if you dislike the main beneficiary in your loved one’s last will and testament and believe that person did not deserve what was left to them, as long as the testator created the estate plan of its own free will, it generally is considered acceptable in court.

What is undue influence?

Undue influence happens when a person is coerced to change their estate plan or to create the estate pan against their wishes. From a legal standpoint, undue influence is considered to have happened if the person does not want to make the changes or the estate planning provisions in the way someone else has demanded, but they feel as though they have no choice. It is important to understand that this is different from establishing testamentary capacity. which means the person has the legal capacity to understand that they are making a will and, in general, what property they own and who their heirs would ordinarily be.

Charges of undue influence

A common situation in which undue influence occurs is one that involves a caregiver pressuring a person to create a will that leaves everything to them. However, family members and friends can also exert undue influence. A person might tell a family member that they will send them to a nursing home if they do not disinherit everyone else and leave them the entire estate.

Rather than claiming undue influence yourself, you might instead find yourself in a situation in which you are responsible for estate administration and someone alleges that undue influence has occurred. In either of these situations, you might want to consult an attorney to discuss how best to proceed.


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