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Undue influence and other will challenges

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Will Contests

Probate litigation is necessary for families who must express grievances regarding a will or how an estate is handled. Massachusetts law establishes a strict rule over undue influence in this process. When one person obtains the trust of another in order to mislead them, undue influence is what a judge will examine in their case. Manipulating a person’s weakness is against the law when the victim is writing their will. A will can be challenged when undue influence played a role.

Exchanging one will for another

The wishes of a will are subject to debate when a person dies, leaving that person’s assets left to probate litigation. Friends or relatives who believe that the deceased wrote a will against their wishes can present a complaint in court. Forcing one person to act or refrain from acting is among the issues that need to be proven to claim undue influence.

Coercion

Excessive persuasion and bribery can lead the vulnerable to fear for the lives of their families and themselves. Coercion is used to pressure estate owners into perceiving dangers that don’t exist. In many cases, an estate owner falls victim to a story about a loved one in danger or who needs money. Here are some instances when undue influence might be found:

– Guardianships
– Wills
– Trusts
– Powers of attorney

Fraud

One of the misconceptions used to fool a person into acting against their will is secrecy. As long as the forger has or would have had access, legal documents can be altered in secret. Forgery and omissions are attempts of fraud, striving to steal an estate or its assets. Fraud might be proven through false signatures, missing data, and vague entries.

Protecting the elderly

Probate litigation is a public hearing where you’re allowed to voice personal claims and grievances. Being suspicious of undue influence within a will is not uncommon. Intricate scams are often the leading method in which people enforce undue influence on others. If you are worried about this happening to your loved one, you can present your concern during probate.