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

Do you suspect that undue influence impacted a last will?

Losing someone you love is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult when you believe that other people intend to subvert your loved one's wishes and cut you out of the estate. Family conflicts often arise during the administration of large estates.

People whom you have known and trusted your entire life can behave in uncharacteristically greedy, selfish or cruel manners when a large amount of money is on the line. Some people, including children or spouses who serve as caretakers, may go so far as pressuring someone in their final years to remove other beneficiaries from their estate plan for their own personal gain.

This practice involves the application of undue influence on someone to get them to change their will. If you believe that undue influence played a role in changes to an estate plan or will that you should benefit from, you may need to consider challenging the last will.

Undue influence often involves intense emotional abuse

To secure control over someone's estate, people may develop a plan in which they isolate their target and then slowly pressure them to make the desired changes. While the testator may initially resist such efforts, the longer they go without interacting with the rest of their family, the more likely they are to bend to the will of a caregiver who has control over their daily quality of life and freedoms.

Those in a compromised mental state may even begin to believe the idea that they have been abandoned by the rest of their family, even if the caretaker is the one denying people access or communications.

To exert undue influence over another person, someone close to a vulnerable adult has to intentionally manipulate them. While these abusive tactics may be out of character for the people you know in your family, that doesn't mean certain people aren't capable of surprising you when they stand to gain control over a large amount of money or other valuable assets.

Can you show what the original wishes of your loved one were?

One of the best and most straightforward ways to demonstrate potential undue influence in a last will is to present the courts with earlier estate planning documents. If you can demonstrate that someone had once intended to fairly split their assets among all their children and their surviving spouse, disinheriting everyone in favor of their caretaker may seem more suspicious.

Similarly, if you have documents or written correspondence that discuss the desires of your loved one for their legacy, you may be able to demonstrate discrepancies between those wishes and the estate plan or last will currently on record. Other people may also be able to speak up regarding the publicly announced or discussed wishes of your loved one.

The more documentation you have of their original intentions and of any systemic isolation or manipulation they experienced, the easier it will be to convince the courts that undue influence affected the contents of the last will.

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