It can be a very concerning experience to believe that a loved one was coerced into making a will as another person intended it to be. If you have experienced this, you are likely to feel anger, and a determination to change the course of events so that justice is finally done.
In order to achieve this, you must go through a will contestation.
Contesting a deceased person’s will
In order to contest a will and be successful, you must be able to prove that a will is invalid for a certain recognized reason. This could be that the person was influenced, threatened or coerced by another, or that they were not of adequate mental capacity to make a decision. Other reasons could be a lack of witness or signature on the will.
Proving undue influence
You must be able to go so far as to say who you believe influenced the deceased person and how he or she used undue influence to successfully manipulate him or her. This could be something subtle and psychological, such as making the person believe that another family member had betrayed him or her. It could also be something like withholding medication, making threats or blackmailing the person into being included in their will.
It can be difficult to prove this type of coercion, but if you have other people that can back you up on your claims, you will have more weight to your argument. It also helps if you or other witnesses have little or no financial benefit to make. Any concrete evidence that you can gather will also help your claim and its legitimacy.
If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact a member of the Quinn Law Firm‘s Estates and Trusts Department at 814-833-2222.
Source: Findlaw, “How to contest a will or trust,” Oct. 27, 2017