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Proving undue influence

| Jan 10, 2019 | Inheritance Disputes |

Estate administration proceedings often may not play out the way that you or other interested parties may have anticipated. Those looking in on your situation from an outside prospective may view any questions you or others have about the decedent’s will as simply being sour grapes. Yet typically, your concern about your loved one potentially being manipulated outweigh any disappointment you feel regarding your share of their estate. Many in Seattle have come to us here at Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC with the same concerns, and want to if any recourse is available to address them. 

Section 11.24 of the Revised Code of Washington states that if you believe the terms of your loved one’s will were developed under undue influence from another, you are allowed to submit a petition to the court stating your objections to its validity within four months of the will being probated (or rejected from probate). This may come as comforting news to you, but be prepared to have to support your claims. The burden of proof falls to you to prove how whatever party you suspect unduly influenced your family member or friend actually did so. 

Proving undue influence typically requires that you show that two elements were true in the execution of your loved one’s will. The first is that they were operating from a position of weakness (be it physical, mental or emotional) that made them susceptible to persuasion. The second is that the party exercising the influence shared a special relationship with your family member or friend that would have facilitated their persuasion. 

You can learn more about challenging the validity of a will by continuing to explore our site.