Challenging Wills for ‘Undue Influence’


Claims to have wills overturned due to 'undue influence' are becoming more common. Normally these arise when someone (normally an elderly or vulnerable person)  has been influenced by another person to do something which is to the first person's detriment and which normally is for the benefit of the other.
In ordinary relationships it is hard to demonstrate that undue influence exists. To do so, the person asserting that undue influence has been exercised must demonstrate in regard to the transaction in question that:
  • ·        he placed trust in and confidence in the defendant; and
  •          that the transaction is not readily explicable bearing in mind the relationship subsisting between the parties.
The courts have over the years addressed themselves to this issue many times, but with the circumstances of each case varying substantially, it has been difficult to establish anything more than general principles. The most important of these are that one must look at the nature of the transaction and the relationship between the parties to transfer to the defendant the burden of proof that undue influence was not applied.
If you believe that undue influence has been used to change a will in a way that disadvantages you or someone close to you or you are worried that if you change your will, it may be contested on that basis, contact us for advice.

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