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A GUIDING HAND: Assisting An Ailing Testator With Signing Their Will

The heirs of Melvin Simon, the billionaire shopping mall magnate, are embroiled in a bitter estate struggle contesting a will signed by Mr. Simon seven months before his death. Simon's eldest daughter claims there was undue influence because Simon's hand was guided by a financial planner as...

The Trials of Vickie Lynn Marshall

On March 19, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dealt a serious blow to the estate of Anna Nicole Smith (actual name: Vickie Lynn Marshall). Unfortunately for spectators, the meat of this latest ruling in the now deceased Mrs. Marshall's various legal entanglements involving...

Checklists: a. Indicators of Elder Abuse, Undue Influence and Incapacity; b. Courses of Action When Elder Abuse Is Identified

CHECKLIST A: Possible Indicators of Incapacity, Undue Influence and Elder Abuse □ Gifts to persons (caregivers, service providers, friends) who are not the natural objects of the client's bounty □ Gifts to anyone that are so large, given the size and nature of the client's estate, as...

Undue Influence and Wills

The Supreme Court of Georgia recently decided a case in which it found that a will was product of undue influence and fraud, and that the testator lacked testamentary capacity. In McDaniel v. McDaniel (S10A1497, March 7, 2011), the testator, Mr. McDaniel, was married to his wife, Mrs. McDaniel, for...

PA Court Rejects Undue Influence/Collateral Benefits Argument; Upholds Will Leaving Property to Executor’s Son

Decedent began living with his second cousin, Howard Bosley (Howard). Howard's son, David Bosley (David), lived in an adjacent home on the same property. Decedent died, leaving a will dated December 19, 2003. In his will, decedent gave to David two parcels of real estate and to his brother, Kenneth...

Objections to Probate: Undue Influence and Duress

Undue influence occurs when a wrongdoer exerts influence over a testator sufficient to overcome the testator's free will and cause the testator to make a bequest that would not otherwise have been made. Matter of Walther , 6 N.Y.2d 49, 188 N.Y.S.2d 168, 159 N.E.2d 665 (1959) [ enhanced version...

Testamentary Capacity and Undue Influence in Will Contests

By Stephen Taylor The two most common legal theories used in will contests are lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence. While the basic principles of these two theories have long been established in Virginia, a recent decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Virginia illustrates...

Undue Influence in California

By David W. Tate Here is a link to a blog discussing aspects of will or trust undue influence in California, Click Here . Undue influence is most often established by circumstantial evidence, and can be difficult to prove. The basic claim is that the person would not have voluntarily acted as he or...

Deirdre Wheatley-Liss: 4 Good (?) Reasons to Contest a Will

Maybe it's the season, but I have gotten a lot of calls recently about will contests. A will contest usually happens when your heirs are surprised by what your will says, or by what you have left when you go to the great beyond. I have represented both heirs and estates, and in all cases there are...