The inheritance rights of loved ones are defeated if the testator is under the undue influence of another. To set aside a will on the basis of a claim of undue influence the contestant must prove
- the existence and exercise of an influence upon the testator,
- which operated to subvert or overpower the testator’s mind at the time the will was executed, and...
- such that the execution would not have occurred but for the undue influence.
The courts have defined the question as whether ". . . the testator’s free agency was destroyed and . . . his will overcome by excessive importunity, imposition or fraud, so that the will does not, in fact, express his wishes as to the disposition of the property, but those of the persons exercising the influence.”
“The exercise of undue influence may be accomplished in many different ways - directly and forcibly, as at the point of a gun; but also by fraud, deceit, artifice and indirection; by subtle and devious, but nonetheless forcible and effective means.”
Undue influence “may be exercised through threats or fraud or the silent power of a strong mind over a weak one.”
Copyright by Robert Ray a Texas inheritance attorney. The foregoing information is general in nature and does not apply to every fact situation. If you are concerned about inheritance laws, inheritance rights, have a family inheritance dispute, a property dispute or want information about contesting a will and need an inheritance lawyer, we can help. Please click on the "Contact Us" tab above and use the contact form to contact us today. We are Texas inheritance lawyers and would love to learn about your case. There is no fee for the initial consultation.