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What exactly is undue influence?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2017 | Probate Litigation

In the midst of a legal dispute over a will, trust or guardianship, families and others may throw around the phrase undue influence, which is in fact a legal term of art. However, few people in Henderson or the rest of the greater Las Vegas area may not know precisely what that terms means or what exactly it entails.

Claiming undue influence is one way an aggrieved person, such as a disinherited family member, may choose to challenge a will. As a word of caution to those who may throw the phrase around too freely, it does not mean that certain relatives may be closer to a deceased person than were others. Nor does it mean that a family other or friend is not allowed to make his or her wishes or desires known clearly when it comes to estate planning.

On the other hand, undue influence does not necessarily mean a person who made will was mentally incapable of doing so, nor does it imply any sort of fraud or outright trickery. Generally speaking, a person can claim someone else unduly influenced a deceased person’s estate planning when three factors are met.

First, the deceased person had to in some way be susceptible to the pressure of the person who did the improper influencing. Furthermore, the person challenging the transaction also has to prove that the perpetrator had an opportunity to exert mental pressure to the point that, but for that pressure, the deceased person would not have made the questionable estate planning decision.

A successful claim of undue influence could mean a will or trust gets set aside. However, whether someone actually was a victim of undue influence depends heavily on the facts and circumstances of a given case. As such, specific questions about undue influence should be addressed to a qualified Nevada attorney.

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