Undue Influence

Challenging a Will by citing undue influence is extremely difficult. To find evidence to prove that someone was being unduly influenced is hard because this kind of situation often involves an elderly person being isolated from friends and family.

These cases require compelling evidence that the Will maker was forced or coerced to make the Will.

At Ridley & Hall we have experience in bringing and defending cases involving allegations of undue influence and we understand the very sensitive nature of this kind of case.  We have a dedicated contentious probate team with the skills and experience to take on your case.

To find out more about our services today call us on 0843 289 4640 or send a free enquiry and one of our team will be in touch with you.

What is Undue Influence

Cases are rarely argued solely on the basis of undue influence – more commonly this argument is run in conjunction with an allegation that the Will maker lacked ‘testamentary capacity’.  It is a high risk argument to run on its own because a court must be satisfied that the person making the will has been influenced to such an extent by someone else that they effectively did not have a choice; “This is not my wish but I must do it”.

For example, a brother who has a long standing feud with his sister might bring pressure to bear on a parent to leave more of their estate to him or to cut out the sister completely.  If the parent feels that they have no choice but to agree to that because the brother is behaving aggressively or making threats then it may be that undue influence is being brought to bear.  Each case depends on its own facts.  It is vital to gather evidence as soon as possible from witnesses and often to obtain medical records.

Lifetime Gifts

Undue influence may also be a factor in considering whether someone made a valid lifetime gift to another person.

Generally (subject to tax restrictions) people are free to dispose of their assets and property during their lifetime in whatever way they wish. However, certain transactions may be questionable if they occurred as a result of undue influence by the person receiving the gift (the donee).

During a person’s lifetime, there are two types of undue influence; actual undue influence and presumed undue influence.

Actual undue influence is as set out above – where a person is so compelled, or coerced to make the gift to another that the donor felt they had no other choice but to do it.

Presumed undue influence can occur where there are special types of relationship between the donor and the donee. These types of relationship are:

(a) solicitor and client

(b) parent and child

(c) trustee and beneficiary

In these situations, because there is a position of trust, if you can establish the existence of this type of relationship and that it is fair to assume the wrongdoer abused their position in that relationship, then the burden switches to the wrongdoer to prove that the transaction was not as a result of undue influence.

Get in Touch

Our Contentious Probate team brings years of knowledge and expertise to every case.  If you are concerned that the Will of a loved one was made as a result of undue influence please contact us for more information about how we can help.

Let Us Help You

We offer a completely free initial enquiry so that we can discover more about your situation and explain all of your options.

Please call us on 0843 289 4640 or complete our Free Online Enquiry

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What our clients say:

  • The case concluded as hoped.  I was at all times treated with courtesy, consideration and empathy by Sarah Young who was at all times professional yet approachable in all matters relating to a very complex case. I personally thank her on behalf of myself and children for the way she conducted my case which brought great relief and a most satisfactory conclusion and will help us move forward.

  • I would like to say a sincere thank you so very much for all your help in my recent troubles… I would not and will not hesitate to use you again if it was needed. Once again thank you Sarah for everything, especially whilst I was dealing with the death of my mother at the time. It was a pleasure to have met you, and have your guidance. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • I have referred a number of contentious probate clients to Sarah and have found her to be professional, personable and extremely able. The clients in question have always been extremely satisfied with the work that Sarah has done for them. I would heartily recommend her to anyone seeking advice in this area.

    Wednesday 16 May 2012
  • My first meeting with Sarah  Young was really great. She seemed to care about my situation and gave good advice on what we should expect throughout our case. My case has now come to an end thanks to Sarah. I would highly recommend her services to others in similar situations.

    Wednesday 22nd June 2016