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What is Undue Influence in Florida Wills and Trusts

FAQs • Mar 15, 2021
post about What is Undue Influence in Florida Wills and Trusts

Undue influence is a serious topic for estate litigators. And, perhaps more so, for family members and heirs. Have you been dis-inherited by a last minute will? This Florida probate commentary will explain what undue influence is and point you to an important Florida Estate Law. If you want to see a FREE UNDUE INFLUENCE VIDEO by estate and trust litigation attorney John Pankauski, CLICK HERE.

What is Undue Influence? Undue influence in Florida wills and trusts requires a trial to prove. Pankauski’s last trial lasted an entire week.

Voiding a Florida Will Based Upon Undue Influence

A will that is caused by undue influence is void. Florida Probate Law makes that very clear. Read Fla. Stat. 732.5165. Likewise, a Florida Trust that is caused by it is also VOID. If you want to read more about Florida probate and trust law, you can read the Florida Probate Code and also the Florida Trust Code for free. Here, also, is a free link to the Florida Probate Rules. The Florida Probate Rules are different than Florida statutes. There is a special procedure to follow to have a will or trust declared void . “You have to file papers in the Probate Court to contest the will” says veteran estate litigation attorney John Pankauski. “For trusts, you have to file a separate civil lawsuit.” In some instances, like with a Pour Over Will, you have to do both.

How Do You Define It?

Undue influence is defined as a form of coercion, over-persuasion and force. It is not always the same. It can vary from perpetrator to perpetrator. Undue influence can also have different characteristics depending on the victim. It could include someone yelling at another to sign a will, or they’ll be put in a home. Or a threat that they’ll never see their grandchildren again. But undue influence can also be less threatening and more subtle. Take, for example, a wealthy Palm Beach resident who is in her 90’s. Or a rich retired business person who has been slowed down by health issues. What if a neighbor or “friend” “convinced” them to put their name on a Joint Bank Account? Or got a Power of Attorney? As one’s mental toughness and sharpness decrease, they become more VULNERABLE . Yes, mental health of the person signing the will is very important. In fact, a will or trust signed by one who does not have the correct mental capacity is void. We have previously posted a free DEMENTIA VIDEO regarding OVERTURNING A WILL. As we age, as we slow down, our bodies may look good, but our mind can be slipping. We can become susceptible to the forces of others. Pankauski wrote a book about the top 10 probate mistakes which you can order on Amazon. In Florida, there are civil and criminal penalties for Financial Exploitation.