Contesting a Will Because of Undue Influence

Written by Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.

The inheritance rights of loved ones are defeated if the testator is under the undue influence of another. To set aside a will on the basis of a claim of undue influence the contestant must prove…

  1. the existence and exercise of an influence upon the testator,
  2. which operated to subvert or overpower the testator’s mind at the time the will was executed, and…
  3. such that the execution would not have occurred but for the undue influence.

The doctrine of undue influence derives from English courts.  A will contest heard by Sir Francis Bacon as the Lord Chancellor of England in 1617 illustrates common aspects of the process of undue influence which emerged in the context of a will contest.  These aspects include frail health, and physical dependency, false affection, relationship poisoning, threats and mistreatment, and involvement in the execution of documents by and in favor of the alleged abuser. 

The courts have defined the question as whether “. . . the testator’s free agency was destroyed and . . . his will overcome by excessive importunity, imposition or fraud, so that the will does not, in fact, express his wishes as to the disposition of the property, but those of the persons exercising the influence.”

“The exercise of undue influence may be accomplished in many different ways – directly and forcibly, as at the point of a gun; but also by fraud, deceit, artifice and indirection; by subtle and devious, but nonetheless forcible and effective means.”

Undue influence “may be exercised through threats or fraud or the silent power of a strong mind over a weak one.”

Relationship poisoning may be a sign of undue influence.

You May Also Like…

When Can a Texas judge change or reform a will

When Can a Texas judge change or reform a will

A Texas will or trust can be reformed, in limited circumstances, based on a scrivener’s error (a mistake made by the attorney preparing the document as opposed to a mistake by the clients.)

Evidence of Undue Influence

Evidence of Undue Influence

In Texas, undue influence is a ground or reason for contesting a will. You will learn what are the elements of undue influence and what you can do.

Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases all across Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

Robert Ray is a Texas attorney who handles inheritance disputes

Why Us?

Inheritance disputes involve someone who has taken advantage of the elderly. These cases are complicated and most often, but not always, involve outsiders. We represent you knowing that these inheritance disputes are private and painful family matters. We know this is a stressful time for you. We strive to obtain the quickest and best results possible so that you can get this troubling episode behind you.

Questions?

Get In Touch

Address

Lantana, Texas
In the DFW area

Phone

(214) 660-5700

Follow Us
Contesting a will in Texas

Zoom type workshops?

In the age of Covid-19. we have been thinking of having monthly or bi-monthly, free, Zoom type workshops where participants discuss with us issues that are of interest to them. There would be no agenda, we would discuss areas that the participants wanted to discuss. Participants could attend by computer, tablet or smartphone.

This would be a public Zoom type meeting so nothing personal or confidential should be discussed. Just general questions. Personal or confidential questions should be asked by using the Contact Us tab above.

If you think we should start having these workshops, please leave your email so we can notify you?

We will notify you if we decide there is interest in the workshops. Thanks for letting us know.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This