In order to prove that a testator has been unduly influenced into changing their Will, you must show actual coercion. The burden of proof in these cases is high and legal advice from specialist Will free legal advisors should be sort.
To show that the circumstances surrounding a Will are suspicious is not enough to satisfy the court that undue influence has occurred. There must be no other reasonable theory to explain the content of the Will.
Coercion can take several different forms. It can include:
- Actual confinement.
The above list is certainly not exhaustive. Undue influence has not been defined by the Court and can therefore take any form. The court will look at how vulnerable the testator was in comparison to how powerful the personality of the potential influencer.
With someone in the last days or weeks of their life, less pressure may need to be exerted in order to achieve the desired result. For the sake of a quieter life they may change their Will. This will be sufficient to count as coercion. Indeed, if a testator is enfeeble in body or mind or both then undue influence may be easier to prove. It can sometimes go hand in hand with lack of capacity.
In proving undue influence we must look at motive, opportunity and all other possible hypothesis for the content of the Will.
Real evidence of the coercion can come in several forms. This can include; from witnesses who knew the testator including friends, relatives and neighbours; medical evidence as to the testators fragility; evidence from carers, social workers and medical staff; and evidence from any solicitor involved in drafting the Will.
If you believe that a relative or friend, who has passed away, may have been subjected to undue influence when creating their Will then please contact our team who can help to build a case in order to contest the Will in question.