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Stachler Harmon Attorneys at Law May 8, 2020

If you have recently lost a loved one, you may have been shocked to find that you were not mentioned in the will even though you are an heir. In learning this, you'll likely feel upset and hurt. These emotions can be very tough to experience at the same time as grieving your loss.

After taking the time to reflect on the reasons why you may have been left out of the will, you may have come to believe that another person close to your loved one heavily influenced their decision-making at the end of their life.

Perhaps in your loved one's later years, they gained a new romantic partner that seemed to be controlling or manipulative. If this was the case, you may have reason to believe that they had enough power to convince your loved one to change their will so that they could gain an inheritance. These unfortunate situations are referred to as a person exercising undue influence. If you can prove that undue influence was present, you may be successful at contesting the will and gaining the inheritance that you deserve.

How Can I Contest the Will?

To be able to contest your loved one's will, you must have standing to do so. In most circumstances, this means that you must either be an heir to the inheritance, meaning that you are a direct descendant of the deceased person, or named in the will.

How Can I Show that Undue Influence Took Place?

In most cases of undue influence, you must show that the person who made the will was vulnerable in some way. They may have been extremely elderly, or they may have suffered from a mental illness that prevented them from being able to make their own decisions. They may alternatively have been physically or emotionally abused by the person of influence to the point that they felt forced to change their will.

In addition to showing vulnerability, you should show that a specific person exerted force or coerced your loved one into changing their will.

If you are shocked that you have not been named in your loved one's will, you must take action to understand how the law could help you get the inheritance that you are entitled to.