When someone in Florida dies and leaves behind a will, beneficiaries named – or not named – in the document may take issue with it if they believe the person who drafted the will did not do so on his or her own accord. There are only a few valid reasons for challenging a will, and if you suspect someone influenced the testator’s decision and you suffered a loss because of it, you may decide to challenge the will on the grounds of “undue influence.”
Per the American Bar Association, “undue influence” essentially means that someone exerted an unreasonable amount of power or persuasion to influence someone else’s decision to his or her own benefit. A probate court may consider the following when deciding if a testator faced undue influence when drafting his or her will.
How vulnerable the testator was
A victim must be vulnerable in order to have someone else influence his or her decisions. You may need to demonstrate that a testator had certain vulnerabilities, such as incapacity, disability or illness, when making your case.
How much authority the influencer had
If the influencer had a high degree of authority over the victim, this may also strengthen an undue influence case. For example, if the influencer was a care or legal professional, this may place him or her in a position of power over the victim.
How the influencer exerted power
The tactics the influencer used to impact the other also fall under the microscope in an undue influence case.
The impact of the influencer’s actions also contributes to the outcome in an undue influence case. The strength of your case depends to some degree on your ability to demonstrate that one party’s influence led to an inequitable result for you, the testator or both.