Undue influence can be a difficult burden to prove. The burden of proof rests with the person challenging the last will and testament. Indicia of undue influence may include the proximity of relationship between the person that is being accused of unduly influencing the testator, the opportunity for that person to assert influence and some evidence that the assertion of influence resulted in a change or in writing a will that would be outside of the ordinary course of the individual’s or what might be considered typical of the individual’s pattern of distribution.
One of the most efficient ways to avoid undue influence is to retain the advice of an experienced Maryland wills attorney. An attorney will work diligently to make sure a person’s last will and testament is a true reflection of their desires for their estate and assets after their death.
Avoiding Undue Influence
One way a lawyer can assist with avoiding an undue influence claim is to ask all individuals except the testator to leave the room when discussing the distribution of the assets, and the provisions of the last will and testament. In addition, a wills attorney in Maryland can confirm the terms of the last will and testament with the testator multiple times. Finally, an attorney will conduct the final will signing ceremony with only the testator, witnesses and notary present.
Fraud may occur when the testator is not the actual signer of the last will and testament or something in the document was fraudulently presented to the testator.
Fraudulent execution may occur when an interested person believes that the testator is not the person that actually signed the documents. The document may be signed and presented fraudulently as the last will and testament of individual, who was not the actual signor.
Fraudulent inducement may occur when the testator has relied on facts and has made a decision about their last will and testament based on fraudulent information.
For example, a classic example might be if a testator left a bequest to a person on the belief that the individual was his or her child, but the individual was fraudulently misrepresenting himself or herself.
How Will Mistakes be Recognized
It depends on the nature of the mistake. It is sometimes something as simple as a scrivenor’s error, which can be rectified by an affidavit from the original creator of the last will and testament. If the error or mistake rises to the level of there being vagueness, it may be possible for the personal representative to petition the court for clarity of the will provision or simply propose a distribution based on his or her interpretation of the will.
How a Maryland Wills Attorney Can Help
A Maryland wills lawyer that is familiar with the execution of the last will and testament can help avoid the likelihood that your will would be found invalid and allowing for the testators choices for personal representatives and wishes for distribution to stand. An attorney can help someone properly execute the document. They can also serve and have notes in their file regarding execution of the document. If there is something that is askew or something that is out of place so that in the event that the will is challenged there may be some information to help reduce the likelihood that the will will be invalidated or found invalid in part or in whole.