It used to be very difficult for a person to successfully challenge the validity of a will on the grounds of undue influence, because undue influence is not easy to prove. This is because undue influence is typically exerted in privacy and away from the family members, friends, and other loved ones who may have been the deceased’s intended beneficiaries. Section 52 of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act now makes it easier for an “undue influence” challenge to succeed. Section 52 creates a presumption of undue influence where certain types of relationship exist, which typically those of the will maker are being in a position of dependence or submission to another person (i.e. a caregiver). Once the relationship of dependence is established, the person who wishes to defend the validity of the will now has the burden to prove that he or she did not exercise undue influence.
The experienced estate litigation lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP can help to protect the validity of a will in the face of a challenge of undue influence. They can also help to advance a claim of undue influence if you feel that the terms of a will were the result of someone’s undue influence, rather than the true wishes of your loved one. Call us (toll free: 1-855-852-5100) for help.