On May 21, 2017, at age 86, decedent E. Lowell Dorris passed away testate. He was survived by 4 nieces and a nephew. However, in his will, he named Luis Freddy Molano as his sole beneficiary. The value of the estate was around $350,000. The decedent’s four nieces initiated a will contest, alleging undue influence. Benjamin Robinson, the executor and also the attorney who drafted the will, requested that the court dismiss the objection of the nieces.
A court will not allow a will that was made under undue influence to be probated. Thus, if the nieces prevailed and the will was found to be invalid, the court would either probate a prior valid will or the court would declare the decedent to be intestate. If the decedent is intestate and the nieces are the decedent’s intestate heirs, the nieces would share in the decedent’s estate.
Undue influence means that the testator drafted a will because someone illegally influenced them to do so. In other words, the terms of the will do not reflect the wishes of the testator, but the wishes of the influencer. The following circumstances tend to show the existence of undue influence: