Undue Influence – An Abuse of Power and How to Handle It

Undue Influence – An Abuse of Power and How to Handle It

When someone creates a will or trust in Virginia, they have the right to do so freely and without undue influence. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for someone to use their position of power or trust to exert undue influence on the person creating the will or trust. If you suspect that a loved one’s will or trust was created under undue influence, you may have the right to sue to set it aside. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Undue Influence?

Undue influence occurs when someone uses their position of power or trust to influence the decision-making of another person. In the context of wills and trusts, this means that someone may have manipulated the person creating the will or trust to leave their assets in a way that doesn’t reflect their true wishes.

Signs of Undue Influence

There are several signs that may indicate undue influence, including:

  • The person creating the will or trust was isolated from friends and family members.
  • The person creating the will or trust was in poor health or experiencing cognitive decline.
  • The person who benefited from the will or trust had a close relationship with the person creating it.
  • The person who benefited from the will or trust was involved in the creation of the document.
  • The will or trust contradicts the person’s previous intentions or the expectations of their loved ones.

How to Sue to Set Aside a Will or Trust

If you suspect that a will or trust was created under undue influence, you have the right to sue to set it aside. The first step is to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in estate litigation. They can help you determine whether you have a case and guide you through the legal process.

To sue to set aside a will or trust, you will need to show that the document was created under undue influence. This may involve gathering evidence such as witness testimony, medical records, and financial records. Your attorney will help you build your case and present it to the court.

If the court agrees that the will or trust was created under undue influence, it may set it aside and distribute the assets according to the person’s previous wishes or Virginia law. In some cases, the court may also award damages to the person who was wrongfully deprived of their inheritance.

In Conclusion

Undue influence in wills and trusts is a serious issue that can deprive loved ones of their rightful inheritance. If you suspect that a loved one’s will or trust was created under undue influence, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you sue to set it aside. Remember to look for signs of undue influence and take action to protect your loved one’s wishes.

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