Undue Influence Cases
Unfortunately, it is too common that caregivers, family members and friends use undue influence, and even fraud, to compel an elderly or infirm person to change a will or to transfer assets. A person who has been negatively affected by a will change, beneficiary change or transfer of land or other assets that was the result of fraud or undue influence, can file a lawsuit and seek to have a court void the effect of such change or transfer. The lawyers at Pepper Law, PLC handle undue influence cases in Nashville and throughout Tennessee.
Undue influence cases are not limited to will contest cases. Frequently, undue influence transfers involve transfers made before the death of the deceased such as when the deceased has changed a beneficiary designation on a bank account, CD, retirement account, insurance policy or mutual fund account. Sometimes, undue influence is used to have someone transfer land or personal property such as vehicles or equipment. With some frequency, undue influence is used to have the deceased both change his or her will and transfer assets. An undue influence case may be brought before the person who was influenced to change the will or to make the transfer deceases, though frequently, such changes and transfers are not known about until after the unduly influenced person has deceased.
To prove an undue influence case typically requires that a lawyer convince the jury or judge of the undue influence using only circumstantial evidence since, in most cases, the person who owned the assets or made the will has passed away and is not able to testify. For that reason, the discovery process is usually crucial in building an undue influence case. If you have an undue influence case in Nashville or any other part of Tennessee, the lawyers at Pepper Law, PLC can help you.
Q: How do I determine if I have a basis for challenging a will, a beneficiary designation or the transfer of some asset or assets on the basis of undue influence? Alternatively, if someone is challenging a will, or beneficiary designation, or pre-death asset transfer, how do I know how strong a case that person may have?
A: The outcome of each case depends on the particular facts involved, and the facts in every case are different. There are some circumstances which may substantially affect the outcome of your case or, even, be outcome determinative. Those circumstances include:
- whether the deceased was incompetent because of a mental or physical condition or medication use;
- whether the deceased was dependent on the person who benefited from the change or transfer;
- the age of the decedent or testator;
- the degree of the dependency of the decedent or testator on another for basic life necessities;
- if a will or beneficiary designation was changed, whether impartial individuals witnessed the decedent or testator make the change;
- whether the change in the will, the change in the beneficiary designation or the transfer was made shortly before the death of the decedent or testator;
- whether the deceased received independent legal advice before making the change, designation or transfer; and/or
- whether the will change or asset transfer was disclosed to others or kept secret.
Pepper Law, PLC provides initial consultations at no charge for undue influence cases in Nashville and all other parts of Tennessee.