Undue influence is probably the most common suggestion made to me by clients as an explanation for a family member’s Will having been changed. However, in practice, it is an incredibly high burden to prove, and you rarely see cases going to Court on this basis alone. The risk of losing and costs consequences is just too great.
This case in Today’s Wills & Probate an interesting read. A reminder of the burden and test applied (the testator’s will must be overborne) but also some key points to think about that the Court took into account.
This was a case where there was no evidence of direct influence (as is usually the case by its very nature), but the facts pointed to it. Some of these are frequently seen; isolation from other family members, accusations of other family stealing from the testator, call blocking… the Court will look at each case on its own facts but it helpful to include these matters specifically in witness evidence, as that is often the only evidence available in these cases.
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Read more about this case in Today’s Wills and Probate: