The UK’s Trusted Probate Specialists
Typically, undue influence cases arise when a will is suddenly changed with no apparent explanation with an estate often left to someone outside of a family. The onus of proving undue influence always rests upon the person alleging it.
Proving Undue Influence
The first step, is always to gain as much evidence as possible. This starts with the background circumstances of the will, and how it was changed. The will and the solicitors file is obtained by what is known as a larke -v- nugus request.
Once the will file is obtained the following types of questions should be questioned :-
- was the person making the will vulnerable ?
- what was the health of the testator and should medical records be obtained ?
- what does the will say ? is it a complete departure from earlier wills
- who is now the main beneficiary ? is it a non- family member ? eg. a carer or neighbour ?
- is there anything suspicious about how the will was made ?
- is there any evidence of lifetime gifts being given to the main beneficiary?
- is anything unexplained eg. in medical records or the solicitors file?
Rebutting the Presumption
If a case has been put forward showing undue influence the onus then falls upon the person to whom it is alleged to rebut the allegations, often the involvement of a solicitor in seeing the testator and carefully discussing the will change or a doctor addressing capacity will be sufficient to show that the will was prepared correctly.
Undue Influence case examples
Gifts made under undue influence in the case of Pesticcio -v- Huet and Others
Will changed by a person who was illiterate in Williams and Williams
Will changed by a Testator who was heavily dependant upon son in Schrader -v- Schrader
Tim Murden is a solicitor that specialises in will disputes and acts for clients across the UK. If you are worried about a will, please contact Tim to have an initial discussion, the direct number is 0845 568 4000 or via e-mail at email@example.com