A will should reflect the wishes of the California resident executing it, and should effectuate their desires in terms of the distribution of their assets upon their death. In fact, if a will is suspected to have been executed by someone who did not understand the contents of it or who did not have the capacity to recognize what their will would do, then the will may not stand as valid. A will may also be invalidated if the creator of the will is pressured into making it benefit someone due to undue influence.
Undue influence prevents a person from making a choice because their freedom to do so has been eliminated. For example, consider a person who depends upon the daily support of their child to get by. Imagine further that the child demanded that the person rewrite their will to make the child their sole beneficiary or the child would stop supporting the person. The person could not live without the daily involvement of their child. Therefore, due to the undue influence that the child’s mandate exacted, the person may be forced to rewrite their will even if they truly did not want to.
A person cannot be manipulated into changing their will to benefit those who impose the manipulation. If they are, their will may later be subject to scrutiny and review to determine if it should be honored as a legally operating document.
Readers who suspect that their loved ones’ wills may have been altered due to undue influence, fraud or manipulation may wish to discuss their concerns with estate planning attorneys. Review of the will can be undertaken to ensure that it is both legally valid and representative of the wishes of its creators.