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For example, an unscrupulous caregiver could exert undue influence over a low-income person whose estate amounts to only, say, ,000, and procure a will written in favor of the caregiver to claim the person’s entire estate, without having the will presumed to be void, and leaving the deceased’s relatives with the burden of proof to show that the caregiver used undue influence.
The court went on to state that the exercise of undue influence may be inferred in cases where another person’s power was so exercised upon the mind of the deceased as to have induced the deceased to confer a benefit contrary to the deceased’s deliberate judgment and reason.
Accusations of undue influence may most often be found when a testator’s mental state was in decline at the time that he or she executed a will or trust, but not all such cases raise those implications.
The Estate of Hoover case itself involved a testator who was found to have been mentally competent, but who was suspected of having signed codicils to his will under improper influence, where other relatives had allegedly made “a calculated series of lies, misrepresentations, and omissions” about his son’s character to persuade him to disinherit the son.
In the aftermath of the death of a family member or a close friend, adding to the stress and confusion is the last thing you want to do.
When something is truly wrong, however, you should not be expected to sit back and let it go unaddressed.