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”.
You 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, you can’t exert pressure to overpower their judgement.
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 person may be induced for quietness-sake to do anything.
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