What is Undue Influence in California Trust Litigation?

A California trust litigation can arise for a number of reasons, but one type of case is overwhelmingly common: undue influence. But what is undue influence, how can you identify it, and how can a California trust litigation attorney help you combat it?

The attorneys at Gokal Law Group are highly specialized in probate matters, including cases of undue influence that enact financial abuse on elders who lack mental capacity. Through our compassion and empathy for our clients’ experiences, we’re strongly driven to fight for your rights until your abuser is held accountable.

Learn more about undue influence and how an Orange County trust litigation attorney can lend a hand, before reaching out to Gokal Law Group for a free consultation.

California Trust Litigation: Defining Undue Influence

Undue influence is among the most common drivers of trust disputes and occurs when a person suffering from mental decline is pressured into signing their assets over to another, usually a financial abuser.

Many people and attorneys believe that undue influence can only take place when the victim suffers from dementia or lacks mental capacity in another sense. However, this is untrue – while dementia and Alzheimer’s are certainly drivers for undue influence, there are many other qualifying conditions.

Ill or elderly people who lack the mental stamina to resist pressures from financial abusers are an example of this. In short, no finding of senility, dementia, or mental incapacity is required to bring a matter of undue influence to court.

Moreover, in California, there’s a presumption of undue influence if a party with mental weakness, a lack of mental vigor, or who lacks capacity enters an agreement that favors a stronger party who the grantor depends on.

In other words, imagine a situation where a grantor significantly depends on someone. If they enter an agreement with a party who has significant influence over them, then it is presumed that they were victim to undue influence if they demonstrate mental weakness.

To better understand whether you or a loved one is a victim of undue influence, review the below examples, and be sure to contact a California trust litigation lawyer if you believe any lines have been crossed.

Examples of Undue Influence

At Gokal Law Group, we’ve seen many cases where abusers exercise undue influence over their victims in order to obtain a larger inheritance.

An example is an adult child who pressures or even threatens, their elderly parents to give them money. They may go after the family cabin, beach house, or even the assets in their Will or trust.

To get what they want, the child could threaten to stop visiting or communicating with the parent, restrict them from seeing their grandchildren, or stop providing much-needed care at a critical time.

Whether the parent in this scenario has dementia, Alzheimer’s, or is simply mentally fatigued from old age or sickness, any agreement that favors a “stronger” party with more mental capacity than the other qualifies as an undue influence in California.

How We’ve Helped Victims of Undue Influence

One client of ours was a victim of financial elder abuse by her son, who sought to take her life savings and $700,000 home. After securing a successful verdict for the client, the house was returned to her – and after fighting a counter-suit by her son, due reimbursement was established.

How an Orange County Trust Litigation Attorney Can Help

Given a case of undue influence, trusted legal counsel can help to relieve the emotional stress of litigation while holding you or your loved one’s abuser accountable, reclaiming what’s rightfully yours.

Since undue influence cases are prosecuted in the victim’s county, it’s important to seek out a California trust litigation lawyer within the area.

If you’re in OC, an Orange County trust litigation attorney will also be more familiar with the local county courts, judges, and the processes that await – which is a key advantage.

Seek Justice for You or Your Loved One

Have you or a loved one suffered at the hands of a financial abuser? We understand your pain and are here to help you hold your abuser accountable. If mental incapacity plays a part, then you may have an undue influence case on your hands – which demands swift legal action. Orange County trust litigation attorneys help gain peace of mind and reclaim what’s rightfully yours. Each of our attorneys has vast years of experience in their practice area, providing them the knowledge, skill, and vision to represent you rightfully.

Learn more about Gokal Law Group, and reach out to our offices for assistance in enforcing or invalidating changes to trusts. Call us at (949) 753-9100 or contact us to request a case evaluation and successfully pursue legal action.

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