When a resident of Louisiana drafts a will, he or she must do so using his or her own free will, and if this does not happen, someone unhappy about its contents could potentially attempt to invalidate it. Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law, recognizes that allegations of “undue influence” are a common cause of will contests, and we have helped many people involved in the probate process determine whether a will is or is not, in fact, valid.
According to the American Bar Association, while allegations of undue influence often plague will and trust proceedings, such allegations can also factor in in proceedings regarding guardianships and conservatorships. Also, older Americans are frequent victims of undue influence, and this is often because they may lack the mental capacity to make important determinations regarding their financial or other affairs.
Just how can you determine whether someone unfairly or unethically influenced another for his or her own personal gain? Historically, “undue influence” has proved somewhat difficult to define, but often, courts will consider certain specific factors when hearing undue influence cases. For example, the court will typically examine the relationship between the two parties involved in the case to figure out how much authority one party has over the other.
The court will often also consider how vulnerable the alleged victim is to undue influence, taking into account factors such as mental capacity, age, cognitive abilities and so on. You can also expect the court system to consider the methods used by the alleged influencer, the final outcome of the situation and how it hurt or benefit both parties. You can learn more about wills and trusts on our webpage.