What is “undue influence” and what does it mean for my claim
Published 07 Jun 2016
Making a will is a complex process, it involves a number of different factors to consider and processes to manage. From valuing an estate to identifying beneficiaries, the list is a lengthy one.
Yet, when a person makes a will, there is a need to ensure it follows the right legal protocols. If it does not, there is a possibility of making a claim against the estate on the grounds of undue influence.
Court’s interpretation of undue influence
Under the Succession Act 2006, a will can only be made when the will-maker does so freely and voluntarily. If coercion is brought to bear on the person making the will, the courts could decide that it was made under undue influence and set it aside.
While many wills are developed freely, a person’s circumstances can have a major impact on this factor. Frequently, people who are isolated, dependent on others for care and in a position of relative vulnerability, they could be subject to coercion and manipulation, referred to by the legal system as undue influence.
However, this can be difficult to prove. Therefore it is essential to have a compensation lawyer experienced with contesting a will. This is because flattery and persuasion by someone who may gain something from a will is not illegal.
The courts will only rule a will is void on the basis of undue influence if it is satisfied that the will-maker’s mind was under coercion. And only if it was to the extent it led to the development of a will that was contrary to the maker’s intention. One of the most important signs that courts look to to indicate undue influence is if the person who drew it up and stands to benefit for it used obvious persuasion.
However, if there is no witness testimony to support claims, it can be hard to prove undue influence. To ensure that a claim of undue influence is successful, a claimant will need to prove the fact through full details and a range of supporting evidence.
At Gerard Malouf and Partners, we offer a no win no fee guarantee that can ensure there are no obstacles to your claim. This is especially important for people that are worried their claim will be rejected.
If you would like to know more about the claim processes, talk to a representative of Gerard Malouf and Partners today.