What is Undue Influence?

Estates & Trusts | April 25, 2023 | Written by Natasha Nair

At Linley Welwood, we know that the concept of undue influence, which is often used in legal proceedings, can be difficult to understand. That is why we have put together some information about what undue influence is, so that you can recognize the signs and better protect the interests of you and your loved ones.

Undue Influence – The Definition

Undue influence, according to Canadian law, refers to a situation where one person uses their position of power or trust to pressure or manipulate another person into making a decision that they would not have made otherwise.

Examples of Undue Influence

This can happen in various contexts, such as in contracts, wills, or other legal agreements. For example, if a person is in a vulnerable position and someone they trust uses that vulnerability to pressure them into signing a contract or will that is not in their best interest, that may be considered undue influence.

Undue Influence in Practice

The key to understanding undue influence is recognizing when someone’s power or trust has been used in an unethical way. In practice, undue influence is usually found in employment relationships, where a person of authority wants to influence the decisions of an employee. Another case is when people fall gravely ill, and malicious opportunists want to use that to their advantage. The most common case is tricking the elderly into changing their will while they are susceptible to the influence.

Here are some other grounds to contest a will.

What Evidence is Required to Prove Undue Influence

If undue influence is used to obtain a document or a contract, the court might find it void. The person who alleges the undue influence has the burden of proving that undue influence was used. Some of the proof that undue influence was used can be:

  • The person exerting the influence had a position of power or trust over the victim
  • The victim was vulnerable to the influence
  • The influence was used to procure the transaction or document in question
  • The transaction or document was to the benefit of the person exerting the influence
  • The transaction or document was to the detriment of the victim

If you think you have fallen under undue influence, seek ways to challenge a will, or require legal services, you can always contact our team at 604-850-6640 or by filling out a contact form on our website.

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