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What Is Undue Influence in Texas Probate Litigation?

 Posted on July 12,2023 in Estate Planning

Flower Mound, TX estate planning lawyerIn order for the terms of a will of a deceased person to be fulfilled, the will must have been executed when the writer was of sound mind. However, a person writing a will may have been influenced wrongly by someone who wanted the will to be changed for their own benefit.

Someone who suspects a parent or other loved one was unduly influenced when writing their will may try to challenge the validity of the will in court. Undue influence can be grounds for invalidating a Texas will

Undue Influence Means Some Form of Coercion

In an undue influence case, there is someone who has access to or control over a will’s creator, known as the will’s testator. The person exerting undue influence knows that the testator is in a vulnerable position, and they attempt to take advantage of it. There could be the following:

  • Active threats to the testator if they do not change their will (i.e., direct threats of physical harm)

  • Implied threats (i.e., stating that failing to change the will might mean nobody will love them after they pass away)

  • Constant attempts at persuasion to get the testator to change their will

The Person Must Be Close to the Testator

In most cases, it is a family member who is trying to influence the testator. They could be trying to gain an upper hand over their siblings or a stepparent, or they may want to ensure that they are in the will in the first place. They may know the contents of the will and try to force a change that specifically benefits themselves

In other cases, the person could be a caregiver who has power over the testator. For example, a nursing home staff member whom an elderly person relies on for their daily care could try to persuade that person to name them in their will. The staff member may make threats, cajole, or trick the senior into changing their will. 

Undue Influence Cases Are Heard in Probate Court

An interested party has the right to challenge the validity of a will if they suspect that there was undue influence. They need to present factual evidence that shows that someone had the power to unduly influence the testator and actually did so. These trials can be lengthy and complex, and could even result in the entire will being set aside. 

Contact a Flower Mound Attorney Today

If you are involved in a will dispute that has the potential for litigation, you need legal help sooner rather than later from a Flower Mound probate litigation attorney. The Colbert Law Group PLLC can help you assess the situation and give you advice for dealing with the issue. You can call us at 972-724-3338 to discuss your case.


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