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By: Scott Grossman on September 12th, 2016

CA Undue Influence or Lack of Capacity: What’s the Difference?

After the passing of your loved one, you may review his or her will or trust and begin to suspect that the documents do not reflect the true intent of the deceased. When this occurs, it can be a result of various factors, including undue influence or a lack of capacity in California. While undue influence and lack of capacity may seem very similar, there are some differences.  An experienced attorney will go over when and what kind of changes took place. This will help you define if you have a case that will stand up in California courts. Proving undue influence or lack of capacity can both be very difficult in court. Choose an attorney that has experience with proving these issues and that will be honest about the possible outcomes.

Differences between Undue Influence and Lack of Capacity:

  • Lack of capacity is when a person does not know the nature or extent of their property, their relationship to the  beneficiary’s, or the fact that they are making the will or trust.
  •  Unless there is medical evidence showing timing of loss of capacity, proving loss of capacity is difficult.
  •  If the person is claiming undue influence, they must provide evidence showing that there was a weakened state of mind.
  • The person claiming undue influence must prove that the deceased person’s wishes are not shown in the will or trust.
  • The will or trust is only presumed invalid once undue influence is proven.
  • In the case of Undue Influence, shifting the burden of proving this claim to the opposing party is possible.


For more information about California undue influence and lack of capacity matters, contact an experienced San Diego trust attorney for a consultation. Call our toll-free number today at (888) 443-6590. Free books and additional information are available to help you further understand the pros and cons of your situation. We also will give you a truthful and honest assessment in our free 30-minute consultation with an experienced attorney.