As someone handling matters of estate in New York, there are plenty of legal hurdles that you may have to jump. The number of these hurdles can increase dramatically if you have to deal with matters of undue influence on top of everything else. But what undue influence?
The Legal Dictionary defines undue influence as any persuasive act carried out by an individual with the intention of manipulating someone else’s judgment. This is a pretty broad definition that can cover a number of different scenarios. In matters of the estate, it usually refers to a party that has exerted their influence over the person who has passed in order to get them to change their will, or to change their mind about estate matters.
This influence can come in many forms as well. For example, flattery, deception, and trickery are all tactics that can be labeled as undue influence. Insinuations and exhortations can also fall under this umbrella. These actions can come from any party as well, like children, parents, or other relatives.
Unlike duress, which involves more extreme measures like threats or blackmail, undue influence is less obvious. Because of this, it can be a little more difficult to pinpoint where the problem started, or to legally hold someone accountable for the end result that their manipulative actions had.
If you believe that undue influence has played a role in how things happened before or after your loved one’s passing, you may wish to speak with an attorney. They will be able to help you identify and deal with situations involving undue influence.