Duress or Coercion

In a Will Contest, duress arises when the testator’s real belief in a threat causes him to make a Will change favoring the threatening person that he would otherwise not make.

Proving a Will is the Result of Duress

The judge hearing a Will Contest case can only find the Will invalid due to Duress only if they hear persuasive and proper evidence. Gathering this evidence will require depositions, expert witnesses, interrogatories, witness interviews, subpoenaed documents and evidence presented following the Washington Rules of Evidence and subject to objections by the Will’s proponent. Our Will Contest Attorney will walk you through every step of this complicated journey.

Duress vs. Undue Influence

Not to be confused with Undue Influence, both Duress and Undue influence result in a change to a Will because of improper persuasion. They are different. Undue Influence results from improper use of influence while Duress results from a threat or the actual performance of violence that coerces the testator to change the Will.

Who May Bring a Duress Will Contest Challenge?

Only an “interested party” may bring a Duress Will Contest Challenge, usually a beneficiary of the Will. A person would become an interested party if the Duress damaged them financially.

For example, if a caregiver’s Duress causes a patient to change her Will reducing her brother’s inheritance, only the brother is an “interested party”. Though other people may know of the Duress and be angered by it, they have no standing to bring the matter to court.

Experienced, With Reasonable Prices, We Will Fight For You.

If you have any questions regarding Will Contests or any other Elder Law topics, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. At Vancouver Wills and Trusts we focus on estate law. With years of experience we will explain complex techniques clearly and concisely. We can help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family.