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How do you prove undue influence?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2021 | Probate & Estate Litigation |

After the loss of a loved one, his or her will must undergo execution. When family members find that most of the assets get assigned to one heir, they may suspect undue influence. This can happen when someone convinces an elderly or otherwise vulnerable person to change his or her will to benefit the influencer.

In Georgia, the law surrounding wills requires that “A will must be freely and voluntarily executed. A will is not valid if anything destroys the testator’s freedom of volition, such as fraudulent practices upon the testator’s fears, affections, or sympathies; misrepresentation; duress; or undue influence whereby the will of another is substituted for the wishes of the testator.” If you think this may be the case with your loved one’s will, the burden of proving it falls upon you.

Prove that the influencer had control

When possible, you must prove that the influencer had control over the testator, or the person whose will you believe was influenced. This control may come in the form of mental or emotional abuse, treats or financial control.

Prove that the influencer participated in creating or changing the will

Just because you suspect that someone had some measure of control does not mean that he or she actually had undue influence. You have to prove that he or she assisted in creating the will in his or her favor or in changing it to go his or her way. You may be able to show that this happened based on who was a witness or notary to the signing.

Undue influence is an unfortunate occurrence, and it can negatively impact families. If you think it happened, it is wise to look into it rather than letting it go.