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Undue Influence

Understand and Recognize Undue Influence with Our Help

When a last will and testament is being created, it can be assumed that the testator is going to act with their own volition, distributing wealth and assigning property rights to those they see as the most deserving. It can be no surprise that some people – relatives, employees, close friends, etc. – might find reasons to disagree with everything in the will, and that they will want to find a way to change it. They may try to exercise undue influence upon the testator by intentionally applying duress or stress to alter the will or simply stop it from being signed and finalized. It should be noted, however, that undue influence can also be used to get a will signed if the influencer wants to ensure it doesn’t change.

If a loved one has drafted a will but is making sudden changes to it, you might have reason to suspect that someone is using undue influence to get their way. With the help of a Sarasota will and trust litigation attorney from The Edwards Law Firm, PL, we can start investigating your claims and defend both you and your loved one from unnecessary duress.

Forms of Undue Influence

Before you can accuse someone of using undue influence, you need to be aware of how it can happen. If someone is simply expressing their opinions – even if they may be damaging to your reputation – they might not necessarily be using undue influence to get you out of the will. There usually needs to be some form of inappropriate stress, recognizable intent to take advantage of an elder’s disabilities, or a direct mention of wanting to see the will changed, signed, or discarded.

Three of the main ways undue influence may occur include:

  • Mental - Exploiting the reduced mental capacity of an elder, intentionally causing psychological harm through hurtful conversations, or misleading information can be considered mental undue influence.
  • Moral - Using coercion and consistently bringing the decisions of an elder testator into question may be forms of moral undue influence with the intent to have them lose confidence in themselves.
  • Physical - The most obvious and outward form of undue influence, physical harm or threats of physical harm may be applied to the testator to change the will.

Keep Your Inheritance Secure – Contact Our Sarasota Probate Attorney

Undue influence that goes unchecked could significantly alter a will and its original purpose, possibly resulting in the complete removal of certain parties. If you suspect someone has applied duress to a loved one and used undue influence to get their way – or if you are being wrongfully accused of unduly influencing a testator – you need the legal representation from our Sarasota will and trust litigation lawyer from the Edwards Law Firm, PL. With a focus on probate law and an unrivaled dedication to her clients, Attorney Sheryl Edwards can give you the personal attention required to build a strong case that keeps your best interests in mind.

Contact our firm at your earliest convenience to schedule a case evaluation.

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