3 Indicators of Undue Influence in BC Wills Variation Litigation
3 Indicators of Undue Influence
Undue Influence & BC Wills Variation
In the time following the death of a close relative, emotions are often very high especially when there is the potential for a lawsuit regarding the will of the deceased. It is quite common for a disappointed family member or friend to question whether the deceased was “unduly influenced” in the making of their will.
This blog is not intended to provide legal advice but will provide an overview of some of the indicators that Courts look for when looking at undue influence. Further, it should be noted that this by no means an exhaustive list.
1) Imbalance of Power
When facing an allegation of undue influence Courts will look to see what the relationship between the parties was like and what the power dynamics were. If one party was in a dependent position while the other had the power to dominate them, through actual domination or in more subtle ways, an imbalance of power can be an indicator of undue influence.
2) Suspicious Circumstances
Suspicious or unusual circumstances surrounding the making of a will can assist a court in making a determination of undue influence. Some examples of suspicious circumstances are:
- Preparation of the will in secret
- Drastic changes in the plan of the estate
- Isolation of the will-maker from friends or family.
3) Transfers of Wealth of Authority Before Death
Courts will also look at the conduct of the testator prior to death when they are faced with an allegation of undue influence. Courts will consider if a testator made large-transfers of wealth to a beneficiary and whether a testator made changes to powers of attorney or other legal instruments prior to their death.
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