Undue Influence under Texas Law: of Will Contests & More

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Many clients ask us about so-called “undue influence” under Texas law, generally with regard to a potential will contest or some type of trust or estate law. As probate, estate, and trust lawyers here in the Dallas area, we often summarize quick answers to such questions in our blog. Accordingly, in this blog post we will review the basics of undue influence in Texas. Remember, however, that if you have questions about a potential will contest under Texas law, reach out to one of our Dallas-based attorneys for a consultation.

Undue Influence, Will Contests, Texas

UNDUE INFLUENCE

Undue influence is an increasingly common reason that people initiate a will or a trust contest following a loved one’s death. As we Americans are experiencing a rapid growth of our aging population, many vulnerable adults are falling prey to the undue influence of others.  Undue influence is, whether intentional or unintentional, conduct that replaces the willpower and true intentions of the vulnerable adult with the will of the trusted perpetrator.  Undue influence is typically found not from a single event, but rather part of a process generally conducted in secret by the perpetrator.  Accordingly, undue influence must be proved by circumstantial evidence.  Experienced estate litigators are most appropriate to prove this type of case as they should have a familiarity with the nuances of establishing undue influence.  In Texas, generally speaking, it is difficult to obtain a favorable verdict proving undue influence, whether from a judge or jury.  Individuals are well advised to choose attorneys who have had successful experiences actually trying this type of case in court.

 

EDITOR’S SUMMARY

In this blog post, we learned some of the basics of so-called “undue influence” under Texas law. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what constitutes undue influence. However, if you are facing a potential estate, trust, or probate dispute or even potential litigation or will contest, reach out to one of our Dallas-based attorneys for a consultation. We also have a convenient office in Plano, Texas, where we can meet to discuss the facts and law of your potential trust, estate, or probate dispute or litigation.