What Is Undue Influence?

Anyone can create a will or estate plan once he or she is an adult and of sound mind. These factors are important to make sure the will is valid and accurate. However, many outside factors could impact the validity of a will, including undue influence. Undue influence means that someone manipulated the creator, or testator, of the will for personal gain. You may not think this could happen to your family, but elderly people and those with mental or physical illnesses are susceptible to unfair influence.

At Janssen Law, PLC, we are committed to protecting the rights of all your family members. Our experienced estate planning attorneys will guide your family through any situation involving undue influence. We understand how delicate matters involving your family are. That is why the founding father-and-son team at our firm tailor our approach to fit your family's individual needs.

Signs Of Undue Influence

It is not always possible to detect signs of undue influence before the death of a family member. That is nothing to be embarrassed about. There are not always signs of manipulation, and they are different for everyone. However, common signs to look out for include:

  • Reduced or prevented communication with the testator
  • Significant changes in mood or relationships
  • Sudden change in finances or location of the will
  • Frequent references to and dependence on a potential influencer

If you recognize any of these signs, it is crucial to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At Janssen Law, PLC, we will help you understand all your options to confront these challenges or to contest a will after the fact.

Contesting A Will

You can contest the validity of the will during the probate process if you suspect undue influence.

To contest a will, you must:

  • Determine your standing: You must be a named beneficiary in the will to contest an aspect of it.
  • File with the court: Then, you must officially file a contest with the Iowa probate court of your county. It will evaluate the claim.
  • Establish grounds: The evidence of undue influence is grounds to challenge the will.

Contesting a will is a time-sensitive issue. If you decide to contest a family member's will, contact Janssen Law, PLC, today.

We Are On Your Side

You do not have to face estate planning challenges alone. Our lawyers will be by your side every step of the way. Contact us via email or by calling 515-421-9068 to arrange a free consultation at our Des Moines offices.