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What is undue influence in trust litigation?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2021 | Trust & Estate Litigation

A person who creates a trust must do it because they want to. They have to be of sound mind so they can understand the elements of the trust. While most trusts are executed without any issues, there are some that come into question.

Sometimes, claims of undue influence are made. In a broad sense, this means that a family member or other party believes that someone was influencing the trust creator’s decisions.

Why is undue influence a problem when it comes to trusts?

Because the trust must convey the creator’s wishes, nobody else should have an influence over how the trust is set up. It’s possible that undue influence could mean that rightful beneficiaries aren’t entitled to anything because of the terms of the trust.

Typically, undue influence comes from a person who’s in a position of power over the person who’s creating the trust. It’s commonly a caregiver. That individual might withhold care or vital services, such as meal preparation or toileting help, so they can force the person to create the trust in the way they want it.

It can be difficult to prove undue influence during a trust litigation case. If you think that this is a case with your loved one’s trust, you should weigh the cost and effects of litigation against the potential inheritance that will come with a successful claim. In many cases, however, the driving factor is ensuring their loved one’s true wishes are followed.

Anyone who has reason to believe that a trust isn’t all it’s supposed to be should get experienced legal guidance. Taking legal action regarding a trust is a time sensitive matter, so you need to do so quickly.