Contesting a Will – Undue Influence
One of the grounds on which a will can be declared invalid is if the person making the will (known as the testator) was pressurised or “coerced” into making their will.
The reason for this is that a will should record the wishes of the testator, who should be free from any pressure to either change their will or leave their estate in a particular way.
Undue influence can take a number of forms. In some cases, the undue influence applied may be direct e.g. a direct threat. In other cases, the pressure placed on a testator may not be obvious or even be intentional.
For example, if someone is vulnerable and they are reliant on another person for their care, support or well-being, they may feel obliged to include that person in their will (whether or not they want to do so). Especially, if they are concerned that care, support or family contact may be withdrawn if they do not leave their estate in a particular way.
Not every vulnerable person will be subject to undue influence and not every person in a position of care or support will exert undue influence. Many testators may want to recognise someone who has helped them in their will and, provided that is their choice (free of any undue influence), they can do so.
Undue influence can be difficult to prove and it is a serious allegation to make.
If you think that a testator may have been subject to undue influence, it is important to consider this and the other grounds for contesting a will (see our other pages about Contesting a Will) before deciding on how to proceed.
If you wish to contest a will or codicil on the grounds of undue influence you should obtain legal advice. Our specialist team of solicitors will be able to advise you about this type of claim.
We offer an initial free telephone consultation (limited to 30 minutes).
The High Court has granted permission to bring a claim under the Inheritance Act – despite it being issued more than 25 years after the deadline.