Undue influence exists when a testator is coerced or compelled to execute a will due to improper pressure from another individual. In many cases, the person accused of undue influence is a family member, friend, health care worker or fiduciary who is a trusted advisor or confidant of the testator. In Florida, undue influence is a cause of action that can be used to challenge the validity of a will after the testator’s death.
What Constitutes Undue Influence Under Florida Law?
Undue influence can occur under a wide variety of circumstances. Sometimes the undue influencer is a family member or intended beneficiary who coerces the decedent to write other beneficiaries out of his or her will. Other times, the undue influencer is a new acquaintance who befriends the decedent near the end of his or her life in an effort to exert control over changes to the decedent’s will. Undue influence is also an example of fiduciary abuse when a trusted advisor, such as an attorney or accountant, coerces the decedent into changing a will to benefit the fiduciary.
Undue influence cannot be proven by showing that an individual merely gave advice or persuaded the decedent to make certain decisions with regard to a will. Rather, the crucial issues are whether the decedent was vulnerable to confusion or fear, and whether his or her free agency and willpower were destroyed, making his or her actions the product of another person.
Our Firm Can Help
If your loved one was a victim of undue influence and subsequently changed his or her will, the Law Office of David M. Garten, Esq., can help. For more than 30 years, individuals and families in West Palm Beach and surrounding communities have turned to attorney David M. Garten for trustworthy guidance and strong representation in matters related to undue influence and probate litigation.
We will investigate all circumstances related to your concerns, including all changes made to the will document and whether the decedent was particularly vulnerable to undue influence due to isolation from friends and family, mental or physical ailments, and/or lies and misinformation provided by the undue influencer. Our firm also provides a strong defense to individuals and fiduciaries who have been wrongfully accused of undue influence.
Contact Attorney David M. Garten
Call our firm at 561-689-0054 to discuss your questions and concerns with an experienced undue influence lawyer in Florida. You can also contact us by email. We represent clients throughout Palm Beach County, Martin County and Broward County.