Exerting Undue Influence May Invalidate A Will

"Undue influence" generally means that someone is being manipulated to the extent that he or she is not acting of his or her free will. Elderly individuals who suffer from various stages of memory loss may become easy targets for a son or daughter who lives nearby or an unscrupulous caregiver. Contesting a will requires the experience of a trial lawyer who understands probate law.

Testamentary Capacity

For a will to be valid, Tennessee law requires that an individual have testamentary capacity. This legal term means that your loved one must recognize possible heirs and know what he or she has (e.g., bank or investment accounts, a classic automobile in storage, etc.).

Generally, adults are assumed to have testamentary capacity, but you may be able to challenge the validity of a will if there is any indication of undue influence or fraud. This can become an issue when a vulnerable person leaves all or most of his or her remaining property to a person who worked in a position of trust.

This most often becomes an issue when there are multiple wills. For example, a 2010 will may leave an estate to you and your siblings in equal shares, but a 2014 update gifts everything to your sister, who lived with the parent. A newer will generally trumps the older version. But undue influence could explain why you were left out of a will and might invalidate the newer version.

An Experienced Trial Attorney

Often these will contest cases can be resolved through negotiation or mediation, but others must go to trial. I have more than 20 years' experience resolving the most complex disputes in Nashville and across middle Tennessee. When a trial is necessary, I know how to build a winning strategy to obtain a favorable outcome.

When you have concerns that undue influence prompted a loved one to partially or fully disinherit family members, send me an email or call 615-686-2115 to set up a free initial consultation.