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Undue influence and the burden of proof

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2019 | Probate Litigation |

There are a multitude of scenarios in which a person in Louisiana or elsewhere may wish to contest a will. In some cases, one may argue that the creator of the will was subjected to undue influence. However, similar allegations typically aren’t enough to invalidate a will on their own, and one must often bear the burden of proving the presence of undue influence in court.

Undue influence may describe any type of influence that prohibits the testator from making decisions based on his or her own wishes or preferences while drafting or executing a will. This influence must also be sufficient enough to cause the testator to make decisions in accordance with the wishes of another party. However, since there are no statutes to define undue influence, it is typically up to the court to consider a variety of variables and determine if the testator was subjected to such influence.

When it comes to undue influence, the burden of proof typically falls to the party who is seeking to contest the will. In many cases, the plaintiff must be able to prove beyond doubt that the testator was subjected to such influence for the claim to be successful. However, there are certain scenarios in which the burden of proof may shift to the proponent of the will instead.

Those who wish to defend against claims of undue influence, or wish to contest the validity of a will due to its possible presence, may find it helpful to seek legal counsel in the early stages of the process. When facing a similar situation, a person in Louisiana could benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney for guidance on how to prepare for what comes next. An attorney can evaluate the circumstances a client is facing and assist him or her in pursuing the most favorable outcome achievable through the necessary channels.