What is Undue Influence?
Have difficulties with a Trust? Perhaps you believe that a decision has been unfairly made, with a more powerful party exploiting someone vulnerable. In this case, you may be witnessing undue influence. Undue influence is a serious legal matter and one that should be taken up with an attorney.
What are Your Options?
Have difficulties with a Trust? Perhaps you believe that a decision has been unfairly made, with a more powerful party exploiting someone vulnerable. In this case, you may be witnessing undue influence. Undue influence is a serious legal matter and one that should be taken up with an attorney. If you want the fairest outcome as a trustee, talk to a lawyer right away to discuss the possibility of undue influence. Proving this could overturn the whole process and help you to achieve a fair result. If you’re looking to learn more about what undue influence means for you and your Trust, then keep reading.
Undue Influence Defined
In everyday parlance, undue influence could be defined as ‘taking advantage of somebody.’ In the legal world, this is known as undue influence. It means that someone who has power over you has prevented you from acting according to your own will.
In many cases, this power imbalance is due to a particular relationship between parties. For instance, a teacher, parent, or doctor is presumed in law to have power over a student, child, or patient, respectively. In this case, the person in a position of power should disprove that there was any undue influence involved. If there’s any outside manipulation or coercion, this could be considered undue influence.
An Undue Influence Example
In many cases, undue influence occurs when creating and ratifying contracts.
For instance, if a will is suddenly and drastically changed just before a person dies, they may have been manipulated into doing this by a person who stands to gain. It could be their new partner, who has married them to gain access to their fortune. In this case, a probate lawyer will be required to determine the will’s legitimacy and how to distribute an estate equitably.
Is Undue Influence a Crime?
Yes, undue influence is against the law. However, it’s a complicated subject in which convictions are rare. Nevertheless, undue influence is an act of constructive fraud.
If you feel that you’ve been the victim of undue influence, then this should be reported. You may not necessarily be the vulnerable party. You could have suffered by losing the inheritance you were owed after a relative was subject to undue influence. In this case, you need to prove that the will is void and have it more equitably distributed. If possible, you could attempt to convict the manipulator for fraud. However, in the vast majority of cases, there is insufficient proof to land a conviction.
If you suspect any undue influence, seek the services of a trust attorney immediately. They will have worked on many similar cases and can provide you with legal support. Taking advantage of others for personal gain is, unfortunately, all too common in the modern world and gaining sufficient evidence that such exploitation occurred is difficult. Regardless, it would be best if you were willing to seek the evidence where possible. A reasonable attorney will help you with this to achieve the fairest outcome during a Trust dispute.
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