Undue influence is when a person coerces someone into changing their Will to benefit themselves. Making a claim of undue influence involves a careful analysis of the evidence and therefore requires specialist knowledge of this type of claim. We have the expertise to help you if you think this is the case.
You might suspect undue influence if someone has changed their Will in a way that seems surprising, out of character or distinct from the pattern of previous Wills. These changes might be:
Unexpected or last minute
Detrimental to them or their estate
Different to the wishes they’ve expressed before.
There might be cause for concern if:
The person benefitting from the new Will wasn’t previously included in a Will
They stood to inherit a much smaller part of the estate before
The deceased was dependant on them when the changes were made
The deceased was frail or ill when the Will was made and possibly more susceptible to forceful persuasion.
By its nature, undue influence usually happens behind closed doors, by people in positions of trust, such as a partner, child or carer. This can make it difficult to prove, and a successful claim will need to show that there’s no other reasonable explanation for the Will being the way it is.
Undue influence is more than just persuasion, which is generally allowed. When looking at a claim of undue influence the court will look for evidence that the deceased would not have made the gifts in the Will without being subject to influence.
We have the experience and knowledge to tackle this complicated area of law. If you think that someone has been pressured or bullied into writing a Will that doesn’t reflect their true wishes, we can help.
Our Wills, Trusts and Estate Disputes team is the largest in the country with offices across the UK, meaning we can support you wherever you are. We have special experience dealing with large and complex estates, including rural properties and international assets.
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