Fort Myers Probate Attorneys

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Undue Influence

Undue Influence Litigation

There are numerous legal grounds on which a will or trust can be contested and set aside.  These challenges include a lack of mental capacity, improper execution, fraud, duress and undue influence claims.  “Undue influence” tends to be the most common ground for filing a will contest suit.  When a testator is threatened, coerced, or forced to execute a last will, it may be found invalid because the actions of the testator were not free and voluntary.   

The Florida Probate Code (Florida Statute 732.5165) explains that a will is void if the execution of the will is “procured by fraud, duress, mistake or undue influence.”  Similarly, if fraud, duress, mistake or undue influence occurs when a will is revoked, the revocation will be void.  When a party with an interest in the estate believes the execution or revocation of a will was a result of undue influence, the party may file a legal action to challenge the will.  

The attorneys at SW Florida Probate Trial Lawyers represent the following in undue influence cases:

  • Beneficiaries
  • Family members
  • Personal representatives
  • Trustees
  • Other interested parties

We know that dishonest care providers, advisors and other acquaintances often target elderly individuals who are lonely and in poor health.  When these deceitful people use coercion, trickery or force to get a sick or elderly person to execute a will or other testamentary document, an undue influence action may be brought in court to challenge the document.  

Proving Challenging and Difficult Cases

Undue influence lawsuits can be very challenging and difficult to prove.  These types of cases are best handled by an experienced undue influence litigation attorney.  The legal team at SW Florida Probate Trial Lawyers has more than 200 years of collective experience litigating challenging and sophisticated civil claims.  Our legal team is made of seasoned trial lawyers who know what it takes to win an undue influence case.   

The lawyers at our firm understand that undue influence cases are very complicated and fact specific.  Success in these types of cases requires a highly skilled litigation team who can prepare and present the strongest case possible in court.  At SW Florida Probate Trial Lawyers we leverage our knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate undue influence claims and uncover all of the evidence necessary to prove the case.    

If you decide to challenge a will or trust on the grounds of undue influence you will need to establish the following elements in order to prove your case:

  1. The alleged undue influencer is a substantial beneficiary under the contested will or trust;
  2. The alleged undue influencer was in a confidential relationship with the creator of the will or trust; and,
  3. The alleged undue influencer actively procured the will or trust document.

Proving a person “actively procured” a will or trust document can be a very challenging process.  When our firm takes on an undue influence case, our attorneys interview key eyewitnesses, analyze critical documents and records and investigate all of the circumstances surrounding the execution of the will or trust.  Uncovering the truth and honoring the wishes of your loved one is important to us and we will take all steps necessary to prove your case.

Contact a Fort Myers Undue Influence Litigation Lawyer

If you believe a vulnerable friend or family member may have been taken advantage of by a caregiver or acquaintance, contact our Fort Myers legal team today.  The attorneys at SW Florida Probate Trial Lawyers represent clients throughout Southwest Florida in undue influence litigation and other inheritance related disputes.  We can be reached at 800-785-0647 or through our online contact form