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By: Scott Grossman on October 16th, 2016

Duress and Menace: Pursuing a Will Contest

Do you believe your loved one’s will does not accurately reflect their wishes? If so, it is worth further investigating to determine whether or not to contest the will. You can challenge a will on many grounds. Examples include undue influence, lack of mental capacity, fraud, and duress or menace.

What Is Duress?

Under California law, a will can be invalidated if it was written and executed while the testator was under duress. State law defines duress as one of the following:

  1. The person, or the person’s spouse, ancestor, descendant, or adopted child was unlawfully confined
  2. The person’s property was unlawfully detained
  3. The person was confined through legal means
    • The confinement was a result of fraud, harassment, or oppression

A person is under duress feels forced to execute a will containing provisions that the person would otherwise not wish to include in the document. As a result, the loved ones of the testator may seek to have the will invalidated on grounds that it was accomplished as a result of duress.

What Is Menace?

Similarly, if the testator was a victim of menace while the will was drafted and executed, the will can be challenged. Menace occurs when the person creating the will was under threat of:

  1. Duress
  2. Unlawful and violent injury to himself or his property
  3. Injury to his character

If you successfully demonstrate that duress or menace was involved in the execution of your loved one’s will, you may succeed in having it invalidated. This process is not easy without an experienced attorney in your corner. We have helped many previous clients invalidate wills or trusts, and we can help you as well. We encourage you to learn more by checking out our client testimonials today.

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