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The role of undue influence in will contests, probate litigation

The old adage holds that the only things you can count on are death and taxes, but we know that’s not true. We can also count on gorgeous sunrises over our Brevard County beaches, annoying TV commercials, red lights when you’re in a hurry and losing track of stuff you put away for safekeeping.

Unfortunately, you can also count on improper behavior from the unscrupulous among us. In the case of estate planning, that impropriety can take the form of someone who uses deception or the application of pressure on another to get them to changes to a will or a trust, or to bestow large gifts. That unscrupulous conduct is often considered undue influence and can result in a will contest or other forms of probate litigation.

All too often these kinds of improper attempts to get wills or trusts altered are aimed at seniors with significant assets, who might be more vulnerable to pressure or deception because of illness, isolation from family, advanced age and so on.

Loved ones who were sure they were to be included in a will can be surprised to learn that a distant relative, employee, caregiver or even a stranger who receives an inexplicably large benefit.

In many cases of undue influence, the person receiving those substantial assets has had a confidential relationship with the person who created the trust or will.

If you suspect that undue influence was exerted on a loved one, contact a Cocoa attorney experienced in will contest and probate litigation to discuss circumstances, evidence, the law and your legal options.

 

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