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Contentious Probate Series Part 3 - Undue Influence

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4th October 2023

Undue influence is a legal term which refers to circumstances where a testator's Will is challenged on the grounds they were coerced or pressured into making a Will that does not reflect their true wishes. This can happen when a person in a position of power or trust over the testator - such as a family member - uses that power to manipulate the testator into making a Will not reflective of their true wishes. Undue influence can take many forms, from overt manipulation and coercion to more subtle forms of persuasion. To prove undue influence, the person challenging the Will must show that the testator was subjected to improper pressure and that this pressure resulted in the Will being made.

One of the key elements in proving undue influence is the existence of a confidential relationship between the testator and the person who is alleged to have exerted the undue influence.

It is also important to note that to prove undue influence, the person challenging the Will must present evidence to support their claim. It can be challenging to make a claim of undue influence in Will claims it is often difficult to prove and there may not be tangible evidence. To be successful in a claim of undue influence, the person making the claim must show that:

• The testator was susceptible to undue influence.

• The influencer had a significant relationship with the testator.

• The influencer used that relationship to coerce the testator into making the Will.

• The Will that was made would not have been made but for the influence.

Additionally, it's important to note that mere persuasion, even if it's strong, is not considered to be undue influence. Nothing short of coercion - a use of pressure to overpower what the testator truly wishes – shall suffice to successfully set aside a Will on the basis of undue influence.

If you have any questions concerning a contentious probate claim, please contact Noel McNicholas on 01926 887700 or This blog was written by Noel, an Associate Solicitor based in our Leamington Spa office. Click here to see his ReviewSolicitors profile where he is rated 4.9/5 stars out of 22 reviews.