What Constitutes Undue Influence in Florida?
The validity of a will can be called into question if there is reason to believe someone exerted undue influence on the maker of the will. What is considered undue influence in Florida?
The elderly and the ill are too often preyed upon by unscrupulous caregivers and family members. Undue influence is behavior, coercion or even fraud perpetrated by an individual who induces another person to create a will that cannot be considered an expression of the other person’s free will, or agency.
Specifically, the Florida judicial system looks to several elements to consider whether a beneficiary unlawfully influenced or manipulated a person for their own personal gain. Those elements include:
- The presence of a beneficiary at the execution of a will or trust document
- A beneficiary who was present when the maker of the will stated a desire to create or revise a will
- The recommendation or use of an attorney recommended by the beneficiary to create the will
- Knowledge by the beneficiary of the directions or contents of the will before the will is exercised
- Instruction by the presumptive beneficiary to an attorney concerning preparation of the will
- Witnesses to the will provided or suggested by the beneficiary
- After execution, the will is stored or kept by the beneficiary until it is exercised.
Each will is unique and the circumstances of its preparation may — or may not — meet these factors for proving undue influence. When you have Florida estate planning questions or concerns about a will in Tampa, or in Hillsborough County, Florida, seek experienced legal advice.