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Alabama Estate Litigation and “Undue Influence” Claims
In the realm of estate disputes, will contests, and trust litigation, our clients are often the target of someone alleging that client practiced undue influence on a deceased individual, and as a result coerced said individual to change his or her will, trust or convey property to the client, for the benefit of the client and to the detriment of the accuser. Alternatively, our lawyers have also represented victims who have been disinherited or whose inheritance was detrimentally impacted by the actions of the perpetrator of undue influence on the deceased individual. Our lawyers have an in depth understanding of undue influence and how it may or may not have played a role in a deceased individual changing his or her estate plan.
We have litigated a broad spectrum of cases alleging undue influence and have obtained exceptional results for our clients in Foley, Fairhope, Daphne and Mobile. If you have been accused of practicing undue influence or if the actions of another have impacted your inheritance, call us now at 251-444-7000 or toll free at 855-390-5566 and ask for a free consultation.
To understand undue influence better, let’s take a few fact scenarios from actual cases our estate dispute lawyers have litigated in Baldwin County and Mobile County, Alabama:
All of the above are real cases that we have litigated, and in each and every case, undue influence was one of the main allegations that was made and argued. Did the caregiver practice undue influence? Did the friend take advantage of the dying brother, or was the change in the estate plan the true wishes of the dying brother? Did the granddaughter play a role in further preying on mother’s fears of nursing homes and thereby accomplished a favorable change in mother’s estate plan, or was the mother upset with the treatment she received from her daughter-in-law? Did the woman dupe a vulnerable disabled individual, or was he in love and wanted her to have all of these assets? Was the husband, who was otherwise mentally competent, unduly influenced by his new girlfriend to create an estate plan favoring only her?
The answers to these questions are not straightforward and our estate dispute lawyers have the time and resources to investigate these matters. Lets us investigate your claim.
Undue influence is not something that happens out in the open in the presence of witnesses that can testify as to whether or not someone practiced undue influence on another. Instead, undue influence and proving it and/or defending it in the Court of law is complicated. It requires you hiring an estate dispute lawyer who has a complete understanding of the elements of undue influence and what evidence it takes to create a presumption of undue influence.
Under Alabama law, in order to create a presumption of undue influence, the accuser must show that a confidential relationship existed between the favored beneficiary and alleged victim, that the favored beneficiary’s influence over the alleged victim was controlling, and there was undue activity on the part of the favored beneficiary in obtaining the desired change in estate plan.
In evaluating undue influence cases in accordance with Alabama law, our estate dispute attorneys use four different models, namely, IDEAL model, SCAM model, Singer/Nievod model, and Brandle/Heisler/Stiegel model. These models focus on social conditions present, victim’s susceptibility and the undue activity that alleged perpetrator engages in procuring of a legal and/or financial transaction, including, without limitation:
The foregoing are just a few factors to consider when evaluating the presence of undue influence. If you or some you know has been alleged to have practiced undue influence in the procurement of a legal or financial transaction, or if you or someone you know has been financially hurt and/or your inheritance detrimentally impacted by the actions of someone, call Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, PC and ask to speak with one of our estate and trust litigation attorneys at 251-444-7000 or toll free at 855-390-5566 today.
Our estate planning and litigation attorneys are some of the most active litigation practitioners in Alabama. Our lawyers have had enormous success in both probate and circuit courts. To schedule a free consultation with our experienced Alabama estate planning attorneys, please contact us.