Addressing duress and coercion in the drafting of a will

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2021 | Wills |

Tucson residents are free to create testamentary documents that reflect their wishes and accomplish their end-of-life goals. While many individuals want to preserve their wealth and ensure that their loved ones inherit from their estates, others may have more unique plans for the disposition of their assets. A person is free to make these decisions, but if they are forced into drafting wills that do not reflect their desires, problems can arise.

The Arizona Code allows for the full or partial voiding of wills that are made under duress, fraud, or through undue influence. A person cannot be tricked or forced into preparing a will that benefits the manipulator against the will creator’s intentions. However, despite this law, many individuals attempt to influence the distributions of others’ estates by pressing their loved ones to act against their own desires.

What is duress in the creation of a will?

Duress is a damaging behavior. It can involve the use of threats or violence to force someone to do something against their will or judgement. In the context of preparing a will, an individual may threaten to withhold financial support from a family member unless the dependent individual changes their will to give the manipulating party all of their assets at the end of the dependent’s life. Duress is coercion with force and is wrongful.

What can be done when duress alters a person’s testamentary plan?

When a family suspects that their deceased family member’s will was created through duress or force, they should talk to an estate planning attorney. It is possible to challenge the validity of wills in Arizona, but doing so can take time and effort. This informational post does not provide any legal advice or instruction on any estate planning topic. All case-specific questions about wills should be answered by lawyers familiar with their clients’ unique cases.