If a person has been pressurised or bullied into writing their will in a certain way, then it is possible that the will may be declared invalid. The legal term for this is “undue influence”. A challenge to a will on this basis is reasonably rare and will be based on experienced legal advice.*
This type of scenario is most common with vulnerable, elderly people. Perhaps they rely heavily on the assistance of someone (maybe a son or daughter) on a daily basis, and are coerced into leaving their estate to that person.
An example of undue influence is seen in the English case of Gill v RSPCA. Here, an elderly woman left everything to the RSPCA and nothing to her daughter when she died. The woman, Mrs. Gill, had prepared the will some years previously with her since deceased husband Mr. Gill. The daughter claimed that Mr. Gill had forced Mrs. Gill to prepare her will the way she did. Mrs. Gill was a particularly vulnerable woman with a severe nervous disorder who rarely left her house. She relied heavily on her husband (who was a very strong character). In the High Court, the judge agreed that Mrs. Gill was indeed coerced into leaving everything to the charity while leaving nothing to her daughter.
In Patrick J Farrell and Company we are experienced in inheritance disputes. On the one hand, we take precautions to ensure that there is no undue influence (by interviewing clients alone or recommending independent legal advice.) On the other hand we act for clients who want to challenge the will of somebody close to them on the basis that there was undue influence. We also represent executors when a will is being challenged.