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What Is Undue Influence in Estate Planning? Part One

When someone puts pressure on another person in a situation with legal significance, it is called undue influence. It is often used in the context of estate planning, or more specifically, writing a will. When someone writes a will and has been pressured by another person, such as a family member or caregiver, to write it in such a way that he or she benefits, it is considered undue influence.

Undue Influence | Estate Lawyers in Cary NC

In this two-part series, our estate lawyers in Cary NC are going to look at undue influence when it comes to estate planning.
An example of undue influence
For instance, if Aunt Sue has a niece who has taken care of her in her old age, she may want to write her into her will so that she can leave something to that niece. But if the niece talks Sue into giving her more than she had originally intended, or if she includes provisions that weren’t included previously, it can be considered undue influence.
Aunt Sue may be starting to show signs of dementia and may not always be fully aware of what is going on, and that niece could take advantage of it to her benefit. Or, on the other hand, Aunt Sue may be perfectly fine mentally, but may feel as if she owes her niece something. Her niece could guilt her into leaving more than she originally wanted.
Both situations are considered undue influence and they can undermine the validity of a will if it is contested by someone who suspects it has occurred. When it is challenged, the courts must decide if the person who wrote the will, or the testator, wanted the will written in that way.
If you're interested in learning more about this subject, visit back with our next blog post. We will talk about how it can be proven.
Come back for the second part in this series about undue influence in estate planning where our estate lawyers in Cary NC will discuss signs to look for and what to do if it is proven. Contact our office to set up an appointment to speak with our lawyers, should you need help with this matter. 
Visit other blogs in this series, below:

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