We are working remotely and all of us continue to be available by telephone or email. In alignment with national, state and local initiatives as it relates to the coronavirus, we remain open for business and have changed the way we are working for the health and well-being of our employees, and you, our valued clients and colleagues. Read more

Mason & Helmers
We Welcome Your Call
  • Phone 651-323-2548
  • Toll Free 877-389-5533

When a will is the result of undue influence

Minnesota courts don't want to have to second guess what a deceased person meant when they wrote a will, explaining how they want their estate to be distributed after their death. As long as the will was executed with all the formalities and apparently with all the requirements, the court will generally do its best to not interfere. As a result, about 99 percent of wills pass through probate without serious legal issues. But in that remaining one percent, there are many will contests that present thorny legal issues and difficult conflicts.

Anyone with an interest in the outcome can contest a will. For example, a daughter who expected to get at least half her mother's estate in the will may contest her mother's will in court if the will left everything to the mother's housekeeper. One of the most common reasons people cite for contesting a will is undue influence. This means that an interested party exerted some form of manipulation or coercion on the person executing the will, and as a result it would be unjust to distribute the estate according to the will.

Undue influence comes up often in cases in which family members or other people who believed they would inherit something from the deceased find instead that someone else got everything. When they find that this heir was spending a lot of time with the deceased before the will was executed, they may suspect that person manipulated the deceased into writing the will.

It's important to note that the mere fact that one heir got more than another is not enough in itself to indicate undue influence. There may have been a very good reason for the deceased to have written the will that way. For example, when one adult daughter spent more time caring for her mother than did the adult son, the mother may have given the daughter a greater share in an effort to repay her for her kindness. However, there are an increasing number of cases in which unscrupulous individuals have taken advantage of a lonely, elderly person in an effort to enrich themselves. In those cases, undue influence may make the will invalid.

Minnesota residents who feel that their loved ones were manipulated into signing a will that did not represent their true wishes should get help understanding their legal options. A will contest is a delicate matter and requires planning and research.

Source: Marco Eagle, "It's The Law: Adult child caring for parent does not equal undue influence," William Morris, Aug. 15, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

For Assistance with Estate Disputes & Other Matters, Contact Us

To learn more about the firm and how we can assist you,
contact Mason & Helmers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review
rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.

Contact Our Attorneys

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
Mason & Helmers

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
St. Paul Law Office Map