Definition of "Undue influence"

Domingo Rodriguez real estate agent
Domingo Rodriguez, Real Estate Agent Keller Williams Village Square Realty

The meaning of undue influence revolves around a control one individual can exert upon another to persuade them to do something that won’t be beneficial for the influenced party. Usually, the person convinced or their lawful successors will suffer from the consequences of their unhealthy decision in the long term. 

The person gaining the confidence of the other is in a higher position of power due to emotional ties, better educational background, or a more elevated social status. The persuasive party or influencer takes advantage of the other party’s gullibility. 

Real-life examples of undue influence

An undue influence can lead to the financial abuse of seniors. For instance, a woman pretends to love an elderly citizen and tricks him into marrying her. Then, she pressures him to give her all his fortune once he dies. The man, under undue influence, changes his will and leaves everything to the lady in question, not to his family. The family can bring legal charges against the woman. In modern-day terminology, we would refer to such a person as a gold-digger setting up a scam to enter the other party’s possessions. 

Undue influence in real estate

Unfortunately, people can turn to illegal and unethical measures in their despair to acquire another person’s (typically a family member’s) valuables and real estate. Family members are prone to incriminate one another once lawyers reveal a senior’s last will. Then they say the vulnerable elderly family member was under the undue influence of the party


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nheriting the property. Undoubtedly, senior family members often become targets of manipulation.

A third party can also manipulate vulnerable people to get hold of their possession and property. Still, relatives frequently suspect that the deceased individual was taken advantage of and bring the case to a probate court. Once the undue influence is proven, the probate judge can rule the testament invalid. 

If you doubt the necessity of an excellent and infallible final testament, ask the professional opinion of local real estate agents. Realtors will brief you on how to avoid real estate scams.

Another example of undue influence is when a real estate company or brokerage employee is threatened to lose their job. To avoid this, they are required to sign a contract agreeing to unreasonable terms in a real estate transaction. 

How does the law relate to undue influence?

There are regulations against undue influence, and they vary from state to state. It is paramount that the law presents the undue influence’s definition unambiguously and the necessity of evidence to prove its validity. For example, the California lawmakers defined undue influence the following way. “[It’s] an excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in something that isn’t in theinfluenced person’s best interests.” (Source: California Legislative Information)

However, the problem with undue influence is that they are difficult to prove directly. As a result, the plaintiffs have to resort to circumstantial evidence. They must prove that the person who fell victim was susceptible to an undue influence due to their age or mental abilities. In addition, they must highlight a confidential relationship between the influencer and the person under undue influence. Also, they must prove that the defendant did convince the victim to change their will, thus benefitting more from the new testament.  

Comments for Undue Influence

Matthew Fields Matthew Fields said:

My girlfriend and kids father shared a house. He had her removed from the mortgage by refinancing it by himself. He did an FHA streamline. She is on the title to the house. He had her sign papers after she had spinal fusion surgery. Is that legal? The house is up for auction next month but she wants to try and keep it.

May 17, 2019  22:10:43

Real Estate Agent

Mr. Fields, we are sorry about this situation. Unfortunately, we cannot provide legal advice. Please get in touch with the local real estate agents in Bethel PA or other nearby cities to discuss the whole problem and we are sure you can find a solution to keep the house. 

May 21, 2019  06:41:14
Connie McMenamin Connie McMenamin said:

My Mom & Dad had a Will. They have 2 daughters, myself & older sister. My parent's Will stated my sister & I split 50/50. Dad passed away, Mom had another Will drawn up, still 50/50. However then my sister and Mom had a Deed drawn up which from my understanding now makes the Will null & void, So my sister gets the market value of house & property to herself. I have tried to explain this to my Mom however, she is 98 and just can't understand with the Deed, I am now left out, my sister gets 100% of the house & property. I feel my Mom is "afraid " to believe my sister would have done this. I am just looking for answers if there is anything I can do. To say the least this has destroyed many relationships.

Jul 04, 2018  11:04:32

Real Estate Agent

we're really sad to read this. Know that you're not alone, as many people, unfortunately, find themselves in situations like this. Deeds and wills are very sensitive matters and often lead to similar unfoldings. We can only recommend you talk with a specialized lawyer to check the available options to your specific case and wish you all the good luck. Hope you get what you feel you deserve and that, somehow, your family relations get established back.

Jul 06, 2018  13:24:36

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