When someone is unhappy with the contents of a Will after a loved one has died, it is not uncommon for them to question whether the Will truly reflects their loved one’s wishes. In such cases, people will often wonder whether the deceased was improperly pressured or unduly influenced by another party to make their Will in a particular way.
The courts have made it clear that there is nothing inherently wrong with influence by itself; people who make Wills are influenced by various factors when deciding what to include in their Will. The law however does not allow undue influence, where coercion or fraud must have taken place.
It has been said that “a testator (the person making a Will) may be led but not driven, the Will must be the offspring of their own decision and not the record of someone else’s”.
This means that someone can remind the person making the Will of family connections, services provided to them in the past, or ask them to include a person who may be in need in the future. However, they can’t exert pressure to overpower the testator’s own judgement.
Knowing whether there are grounds to challenge a Will and which grounds are most appropriate to the circumstances is very complicated, so it is essential to seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Consult our contentious probate solicitors about a disputing a Will on the grounds of undue influence
To discuss making or defending a Will claim on the grounds of unfair pressure or undue influence, please contact us today.
Common questions about contesting a Will on the grounds of undue influence
What may be considered undue influence when making a Will?
Different types of influence can amount to coercion and render a Will invalid. Examples include:
- physical violence
- verbal bullying
- simply talking to a sick person who is seriously ill in such a way that that the person may be induced for quietness-sake to do anything.
How do I prove undue influence over a Will?
The serious nature of the allegations involved in contesting a Will on the basis of undue influence require you to provide strong evidence to back up your claim. This can be challenging since the primary witness – the deceased – is not able to assist the court.
If there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the making of a Will but strong evidence of undue influence is not available, it might still be possible to challenge the Will on other grounds. Contact us today to discuss your situation.
As Will dispute specialist lawyers (based in St Albans, Hertfordshire) we also can assist with claims where:
- a Will has not been signed, witnessed or drafted correctly
- a Will was created by someone not of sound mind
Our expertise with contested Wills
With many years’ of experience, our contentious probate team can quickly assess your situation and provide clear guidance on your legal position and your options for dealing with a Will dispute on the grounds of undue influence. We can then help you achieve the right outcome as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, while keeping conflict to a minimum.
Independent recognition for our team’s expertise includes:
- Ranked Tier 1 for Tax, Trusts and Probate by the Legal 500
- Ranked Band 1 for Private Wealth Law by Chambers & Partners
- Susan Glenholme and Nicholas Turner recognised as Leading Individuals in the field of Tax, Trusts and Probate by the Legal 500
- Susan Glenholme ranked Band 1 for Private Wealth Law by Chambers & Partners
- Michael Henry recognised as an Associate to Watch in the field of Private Wealth Disputes by Chambers & Partners
- Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme accreditation From the Law Society
Our team’s exceptional skills and commitment to our clients is reflected in their memberships of various specialist organisations, including:
- ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists)
- The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
- The Private Client Section of the Law Society
- Dementia Friends
- Solicitors for the Elderly
This independent recognition and these memberships illustrate the strength of our services in this challenging area and reflect our ability to find the best outcome for our clients and their loved ones, avoiding contentious court proceedings wherever possible.
Get in touch with our Will disputes solicitors in St Albans and Radlett
Whether you need help contesting a Will on the grounds of undue influence or with defending a Will claim on these grounds, our team are here to advise you.
So, if you need help with a Will dispute from a trusted local lawyer, please contact us today.