In order to establish undue influence, it is necessary to demonstrate that the influencer had a relationship of trust and confidence with the testator and that they used this relationship to exert undue pressure on the testator. Factors that may be taken into account include the influencer’s age, physical or mental condition, the nature of the relationship between the influencer and the testator, the timing of the will, and the presence of any other suspicious circumstances.
If a will is found to have been made under undue influence, the court may declare it invalid and set it aside. Alternatively, the court may order that the will be varied to reflect the testator’s true wishes. In either case, the estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy, unless there is another valid will in existence.
It is worth noting that proving undue influence can be difficult, as it often involves demonstrating the subjective state of mind of the testator. If you suspect that a will has been made under undue influence, it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A lawyer with experience in contentious probate cases can help you to navigate the legal process and maximize your chances of success.
Creating a will is an important step in planning for the future. It allows you to choose how your assets will be distributed, can help to avoid family disputes, reduce estate taxes, name a guardian for your children, and provide peace of mind. But all these benefits will be for nothing if the will has been invalidated.
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