How To Contest A Will Due To Undue Influence

If you believe a loved one was improperly influenced when signing a will, that will may be invalid. Here's what you can do to contest it with an undue influence claim.

Document Suspicious Circumstances

The first step in contesting a will based on undue influence is to document any suspicious circumstances surrounding the creation or modification of the will. Take the time to make a detailed record of any irregularities, such as sudden changes in beneficiaries, unusual requests, or discrepancies in the testator's mental capacity. 

Gather supporting evidence, such as medical records, emails, letters, or any other relevant documents that highlight potential signs of undue influence. Additionally, consider taking photographs or videos that depict the testator's physical and mental condition, particularly if they were vulnerable to manipulation or coercion.

Talk to Possible Witnesses

Witness testimony can play a crucial role in establishing undue influence. Identify individuals who may have witnessed the circumstances surrounding the creation of the will. This can include close friends, family members, caregivers, or other individuals who had regular contact with the testator.

Approach these witnesses and request written statements or affidavits detailing their observations of the testator's vulnerability and any instances of coercion or manipulation. These statements can provide critical firsthand accounts that support your claim and strengthen your case.

Get Expert Opinions

Seeking expert opinions can lend credibility to your allegations of undue influence. Consult professionals such as psychologists or medical experts who can assess your loved one's mental and emotional state during the will's creation. 

Request expert reports or evaluations that highlight any factors that may have compromised your loved one's decision-making capacity. These expert opinions can provide valuable insight into the influence exerted on your loved one and can serve as persuasive evidence in court.

File a Will Contest

To formally challenge a will, you need to initiate a legal proceeding known as a will contest. File a petition or complaint with the appropriate court, outlining the grounds for contesting the will due to undue influence. You will then have a trial where you can present the evidence of undue influence that you've gathered.

It's very important to comply with all procedural requirements and deadlines set by the court to ensure your claim is properly heard. Work closely with a local probate attorney who can guide you through the process and help you navigate the legal complexities. Their expertise will be invaluable in presenting your case effectively and protecting your inheritance.

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