Undue Influence & Lack of Capacity Claims
Unfortunately, will and trust contests are a common part of the legal process after a loved one passes away. No family seems to be immune from these issues. Everyone wants their share of the inheritance, and people will fight aggressively to make sure they get what’s coming to them.
At Chenoweth Law Group, our attorneys have the experience to represent any interested party in the estate and trust litigation process. From our office in Portland, we have handled undue influence, lack of capacity, and other estate and litigation matters for clients throughout Oregon, Washington, and California.
For any will to be valid, the person creating the will or trust (the testator/settlor) needs to have testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity refers to the ability to understand and make sound decisions. Obviously, without this capacity, the testator/settlor could make decisions contrary to what he or she really intended. Therefore, without testamentary capacity on the part of the testator/settlor, the will/trust is considered invalid.
Similar to the capacity requirement, the law requires that the testator/settlor remains free from coercion, manipulation, or other forms of undue influence. When someone is being threatened or manipulated to add certain provisions to a will or trust document, the influencer’s judgment replaces the testator/settlor’s judgment so that the will/trust does not reflect the true intention of the testator/settlor.
Some of the most common scenarios in which undue influence comes into play include:
- A caretaker threatening, intimidating or isolating an elderly person.
- A neighbor or friend gets close to the elderly person and becomes overly familiar in an effort to affect a favorable change in the will or trust.
- A family member who threatens or intimidates the testator/settlor in an effort to affect a favorable change in the will or trust.
Whether you are a potential beneficiary or someone being accused of undue influence, our attorneys can protect your rights throughout the legal process. It is critical to have a legal team around you that knows how to win these cases.