How does undue influence affect a contesting wills claim?

Published 24 Dec 2015

The last thing people need when distributing an estate is further stress, especially as this process can be challenging enough at the best of times.

In some cases, a will can be tampered with, leaving people out of pocket if the document is changed to exclude them. As it is illegal to influence the will of another person, any instances where these actions may have occurred need to be taken seriously, as the included document likely doesn’t reflect the deceased’s desires.

A recent case in the NSW Supreme Court illustrated the dangers of these events and provides a warning to people who feel they may have been victims of similar pressure in the past.

Undue influence leads people to contest a will in NSW

A woman recently contested her mother’s on the grounds that it ignored it favoured her solicitor’s interests instead of her own.

The daughter believes her mother did not have the testamentary capacity necessary to create a will when her final document was produced. On top of this, she argued the final will was created in suspicious circumstances.

The woman’s final claim is that the lawyer in this case exerted undue influence over the testatrix when the will was being crafted, and change the document according to his needs.

In this particular case, the woman is seeking to be granted probate over an earlier will that ignores the needs of the plaintiff in favour of her own. Alternatively, the woman would also accept to be granted a family provision if her first claim is unsuccessful.

What do people need to look out for when disputing a will?

The above case is just one example of the type of situation which can lead people to contest a will. In instances where people feel an estate has been distributed unfairly, it’s important that people are able to secure the advice necessary make a successful claim and receive what is rightfully theirs.

Some of the situations that may lead to people disputing a will include cases where assets have either been distributed unfairly or in a manner that doesn’t adequately provide for certain family members.

As in the case above, it’s also important to consult contesting wills lawyers if people are unsure that a testator had the capacity to make a will and weren’t victim to undue influence.

The lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners operate on a no win no fee basis. Consult them today to find out more about your case.

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