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When a person signs a will under undue influence, then the validity of the will or terms within the will may be challenged. All will must be entered into voluntarily by the person making it. When a party was wrongly influenced into signing a will or including certain terms within a will, then it could show that the will was not made voluntarily.
What constitutes undue influence?
In New Jersey, undue influence can include exerting mental, physical or moral over a person. This must be to such an extent that if affects a person’s free will. This influence must be exerting by someone having a “confidential relationship” with the person making the will.
A confidential relationship depends upon whether the person making the will relied that person for care, support, companionship, and the nature of the relationship. If the beneficiary of the will was in a position of trust, then it could be considered a confidential relationship. Some examples of relationships that could meet these criteria, if other facts are present, may include:
- Family members
- Financial advisers
- Close friends
What can you do if you suspect undue influence?
If you believe a will has been signed under undue influence, then you can contest the validity of the will. The person contesting the validity has the burden of proof, which means you will have to submit sufficient evidence to demonstrate undue influence. If you show that there was a confidential relationship and there are suspicious circumstances, then the burden of proof may shift to the proponent of the will.
How we can help
The Fairfield NJ attorneys from Faloni & Associates know what needs to be shown to successfully argue undue influence. If you believe a will was entered into under suspicious circumstances, then contact Faloni & Associates to speak with one of our Fairfield NJ attorneys.