Understanding the Law

The Problem of Undue Influence and Will Drafting

When a close family member passes away, you might assume that you will be named as a beneficiary in their will. It can be surprising to learn that this was not the case, and it can be distressing if you suspect that undue influence was used in the creation of the will in question. But what does this really mean, and do you have grounds to contest the will?

Manipulation or Coercion

Undue influence in will drafting is essentially the manipulation or coercion of the individual creating the will. A will explicitly favours a certain individual or individuals, to the detriment of other friends and family members who might have reasonably assumed that they would be named in the will.

Proving Undue Influence

This undue influence can be difficult to prove, and it might be necessary to engage a specialist will lawyer to formally dispute the matter. There are a number of factors which can make you suspect that undue influence was used when the will was created:

The Pros and Cons

You must weigh up the pros and cons of disputing a will, and this goes beyond the cost and legal complexities of proceeding. Attempting to change a will might put you at odds with other beneficiaries, who might well be members of your immediate family. And yet you might also feel you have an obligation to contest the will if you legitimately believe that undue influence was used, as the resulting will was not in line with your loved one's wishes. 

It can be upsetting to think that a family member has been manipulated into parting with their assets, and your decision to dispute the will might stem from your desire to right this wrong.

If you want to learn more about will drafting, feel free to contact a will lawyer for more information.