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Proving undue influence in an estate case

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2019 | Estate Administration

Will contests can be a sensitive subject given that that most in Ocean County likely assume that they are simply motivated by your dissatisfaction over your interests in estate. What is lost in this assumption is the fact that there are indeed cases where people exercise undue influence in order to benefit themselves when it comes to an estate plan. Those who come to us here at Silvi, Fedele & Honschke Attorneys at Law LLC typically want to know in such situations how they prove can undue influence. If you share the same question, then it is important that you understand the implications that come with making such an accusation. 

New Jersey State Supreme Court rulings have placed the burden of proof on you to demonstrate (through evidence) that one convinced your family member or friend to amend their will in a way that your loved one might have not otherwise without such influence. Proving undue influence usually requires showing that the person being accused did not have an equal relationship with your loved one, but rather one of authority that exercised a certain degree of control over them (such as that of an attorney or caregiver). 

Second, you typically must also show that suspicious circumstances surrounded the occasion in which the will was amended. These may include scenarios where the one being accused of influencing them suddenly forcefully inserted themselves in your family member or friend’s life, or where said loved one’s demeanor towards you or others suddenly changed (such as refusing to contact you or include you in their estate planning). 

You can learn more about successfully challenging the terms of an estate by continuing to explore our site.