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Undue Influence

In order for a last will and testament to be valid in Chicago it must have been executed according to the requirements of Illinois law. There are several ways that a beneficiary, air, or other interested party can challenge the validity of a will. One way is based on evidence that there was undue influence or manipulation over the testator when he or she drafted and executed the will. Undue influence involves someone putting pressure on a vulnerable testator such that the testator makes decisions about the contents of his or her will that he or she would not have made but for that pressure or influence. It is a type of manipulation. If you believe that a will was subject to undue influence, it is important that you immediately contact a Chicago undue influence lawyer who will listen to your concerns and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Definition of Undue Influence

In order to prove that there was undue influence the person bringing in the objection to the will or the person who initiates estate litigation based on undue influence must prove that the testator manipulated the testator into writing a particular will. The person who challenges the will must prove that the testator made bequests in it that the testator would not have made but for the undue influence.

The objector must also show that the testator was in a vulnerable position with respect to the person accused of the undue influence. For example, a caretaker would be in a position of influence over a sick, vulnerable testator. The objector must also prove that by substituting his or her preferences for those of the testator, the manipulator took advantage of the testator and benefited from the will.

As a Chicago undue influence lawyer will explain, undue influence involves more than a person asking to be given property in a will. It involves more than a person saying negative things to the testator about other members of the family. A valid claim of undue influence must involve a person who has some sort of control over a vulnerable testator’s situation such as the testator’s care, the testator’s finances, or other aspects of the testator’s living situation.

Consequences of an Undue Influence Challenge

The court will investigate any claim to the validity of a will. The court will not admit a will that is not valid into probate. If evidence shows that a will is not valid based on undue influence, the court will declare it invalid and the court will look to a prior will, if any. If there is a prior will, it will be probated. If there is not a prior valid well, the court will manage the estate and distribute assets according to Illinois’ rules of intestate succession.

However, not just anyone has the right to challenge a will based on undue influence or any other grounds. Only interested parties have standing to bring estate litigation. Interested parties include beneficiaries named in the will, as well as those who stand to benefit if the will is invalidated.

Avoiding Undue Influence Challenges

In order to try to avoid fights over undue influence, there are steps that you can take when you write your will to make it less likely that anyone would challenge year will based on undue influence. First, it is important that you work with an experienced undue influence attorney in Chicago who will make sure that your will is well drafted, clear, and consistent with Illinois law. It is also important to make sure that your family members, particularly those that are left out of the will or that may be surprised about your decisions about your estate, are well aware of your intentions.

If you are concerned about a relative who is sick, or in some other way vulnerable, act quickly and early to ensure that the relative is not isolated and that only trusted individuals are charged with the care of your of this relative.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are concerned about a will challenge or estate litigation based on a claim of undue influence, it is important that you are represented by a skilled undue influence attorney serving clients in Chicago who has the knowledge and resources to ensure that your legal rights are protected. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing clients in matters relating to fiduciary responsibilities. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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