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Undue Influence and Setting Aside Florida Wills or Trusts

Uncategorized Aug 30, 2013

Everyone seems to know the “buzz words” of “undue influence.”  Few know what it really means.  Generally, a will or a trust in Florida arrives at the courthouse steps with the presumption of validity and correctness, providing it is executed according to the law.  In other words, if it is in writing, signed at the end of the document by the person who made it, has two witnesses, we presume it’s valid.  A will that is procured or obtained by undue influence is invalid, providing that you can prove it in a court of law.  Mere “influence” is not enough.  It’s ok to ask your mom or dad for money.  It’s ok to ask to receive an inheritance in a will or a trust.  There’s no harm in asking, right?  “Influence” is ok.  After all, many children or others are very close to a parent, as expected. But you can’t force someone to leave an inheritance to you.  If you do that, if you cause your inclusion in a will or a trust by acts of fraud, deceit, lying, force or threats, then that will or trust, or that provision in a will or a trust which benefits you, and which was obtained by undue influence, is invalid.  As in all trust and estate litigation matters, be aware that the losing or non prevailing party may end up paying the other side’s (prevailing party’s) attorneys fees, which a litigant absolutely has to factor in when evaluating  your case.