Cannon & Thompson, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
Free Consultation
Available 24 Hours

What is 'undue influence?'

One of the most common reasons that people challenge a will or other estate plan documents after a person's death is "undue influence." This is when someone coerces (mentally, physically and/or morally) a testator to the point where that person isn't designating the dispersion of their assets as they would if they were exercising their own free will.

Not all influence is "undue." For example, a wife may talk her husband into agreeing to disburse their assets among their children in a different way than he originally planned to. That's not considered the kind of coercion or domination that characterizes undue influence.

It's generally the responsibility of the plaintiffs (those alleging undue influence by the executor or others) to prove that allegation. They have the burden of proof.

There are some circumstances in which the will's proponent (the person who "offers it for probate") has the burden of proof to show that it was drafted without undue influence. This may happen if there are suspicious circumstances around the execution of the documents or if the relationship between the alleged influence and the testator was confidential. A confidential relationship could be between an attorney and client or even a child and parent.

No reasonable person wants their family or others fighting over their estate after they're gone. It's an expensive, time-consuming and often ugly process that can rip families apart at a time when they often need each other's support the most. There are steps that you can take while you're creating your estate plan, such as discussing some of your provisions and the reasoning behind them, with those impacted -- particularly if you think they might not be well-received by loved ones.

North Carolina estate planning attorneys can help you work to minimize the chances of a court battle over your estate. They can also provide guidance in creating an estate plan that meets your goals and needs.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for response

Contact Us Now

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Office Location

Cannon & Thompson, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
140 East Water Street
Statesville, NC 28677

Toll Free: 888-862-5901
Phone: 704-900-3834
Fax: 704-872-0108
Map & Directions