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Home » Elder Law » What New Jersey law says about undue influence

Sometimes, families have concerns that someone is taking advantage of an elderly loved one. One way this may occur is through undue influence over a person’s will by a guardian, caregiver or even an acquaintance.

Learn more about the signs of undue influence and how you may be able to seek legal recourse in New Jersey.

Discovering undue influence

If a person has undue influence over your elderly or ill family member, that person might:

  • Entice him or her to sign a new will, beneficiary designation, deed or power of attorney
  • Transfer your family member’s property to his or her name
  • Take your family member’s assets
  • Misrepresent financial documents as signed by your family member

Establishing undue influence

Often, matters involving undue influence surface only after your family member has died. The probate process may uncover irregularities in his or her will.

If you suspect undue influence, you can legally contest the will in New Jersey if witnesses can testify directly to undue influence. You can also shift the burden of proof to the defendant if you can prove that he or she had a confidential relationship with the deceased person under strange circumstances. Courts have upheld mental or physical weakness on behalf of the deceased person as proof of a confidential relationship.

When this situation occurs in your family, you must act quickly to preserve your loved one’s wishes. The deadline to contest a will in New Jersey is 4 months after probate ends if you live in the state or 6 months if you live in another state.