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Presumption of Undue Influence

Presumption of Undue Influence

Understanding Undue Influence

Undue influence occurs when an individual exerts improper pressure or coercion on another person, leading them to make decisions that they would not have made otherwise. In the context of estate planning, undue influence can affect the validity of wills, trusts, and other testamentary documents.

Presumption of Undue Influence in California

California law recognizes a presumption of undue influence in certain situations, shifting the burden of proof to those seeking to uphold the validity of an asset transfer, will, or trust. Under Probate Code Section 21380 the burden shifts to certain parties categorized in Section 21380 to prove by clear and convincing evidence that they did not unduly influence the testator. Key points regarding the presumption of undue influence include:

1. Confidential Relationship:

The presumption often arises when there is a confidential or fiduciary relationship between the influencer and the person making the testamentary document.

2. Substantial Benefit:

If the person exerting influence stands to gain a substantial benefit from the testamentary document, the court may presume that undue influence was involved.

3. Proving Validity:

When the presumption is triggered, those seeking to uphold the document must demonstrate that it was executed freely, voluntarily, and with full understanding.

Implications for Estate Planning

1. Challenging Validity:

Beneficiaries or interested parties may challenge the validity of a will or trust based on the presumption of undue influence.

2. Protecting Vulnerable Individuals:

The presumption aims to protect vulnerable individuals, particularly those in confidential relationships, from being unduly influenced in matters of estate planning.

3. Legal Representation:

Individuals facing challenges or defending against claims of undue influence should seek legal representation to navigate the complexities of such cases.

How Estate Law California APC Can Assist

Estate Law California APC is experienced in handling cases involving the presumption of undue influence. Estate Law California APC’s services include:

  • Legal Consultation:
    Providing expert legal advice on the implications of undue influence in specific estate planning scenarios.
  • Litigation Support:
    Representing clients in legal proceedings to challenge or defend the validity of wills, trusts, or other testamentary documents.

If you have concerns about undue influence or need legal assistance in estate planning matters, contact us for a free telephone consultation. Trust in Estate Law California APC to provide strategic guidance tailored to your unique circumstances.

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