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For Estate Planning, Estate Administration And Disputes

How to prove undue influence in New York probate court

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Many New Yorkers are surprised to find out that their loved one’s estate plan distributes assets in a way that they didn’t expect. When these individuals are left out of the inheritance scheme, or when their inheritance is smaller than expected, they might consider whether their loved one was unduly influenced by someone else in the creation of their estate plan.

If you’re asking that question now, then you might be wondering how you address the matter in probate court. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll have to show to succeed on an undue influence claim.

Proving undue influence in New York probate court

Heading into probate court, you’ll need strong evidence to show undue influence. That evidence has to demonstrate each of the following:

  • That the person who engaged in influencing your loved one had motive to do so, which is often a financial incentive by manipulating your loved one to leave more assets to them.
  • That the individual in question had the actual opportunity to influence your loved one, which may be accomplished by showing access to your loved one and your loved one’s fragile state, such as if they suffered from mental decline or some sort of disability.
  • That the person you’re accusing actually influenced your loved one, which may be shown by the fact that the person was present at the time of the estate plan’s execution.

Be thorough in building your undue influence case

Proving undue influence can be tough given that your loved one is no longer around to testify. That’s why you’ll have to rely on your own accounts, other witnesses’ observations, and your loved one’s medical professionals’ opinions. However, don’t let the challenges of these estate litigation dissuade you from acting. With a little legwork, you might be able to build a compelling case that positions you for the outcome you seek.