You’ve heard the legal term, duress, but what is duress in Florida trust and estate litigation? Winter Haven, Florida, and Orlando, Florida, litigation attorney L. Reed Bloodworth walks you through explanations of duress in regard to trusts and estates.
What is Duress?
Duress is asking or forcing someone to execute, change or create a will or a trust by threat of physical, mental or other means of pressure or threats.
Grounds for Litigation
If a person is forced into creating, changing or executing a will or a trust, there are grounds for trust or probate litigation. Litigation is the formal court process through which one party attempts to enforce or defend its legal rights against another party in a lawsuit.
Duress in Creation of a Will
What if duress is proven in the creation of a will? According to Florida Statutes “A will is void if the execution is procured by fraud, duress, mistake, or undue influence.”
Duress in Creation of a Trust
And in the case of a trust, Florida Statutes specify that “If the creation, amendment, or restatement of a trust is procured by fraud, duress, mistake, or undue influence, the trust or any part so procured is void.”
What is Undue Influence?
Undue influence is when an individual exerts influence over a person to influence his or her will and trust.
You should understand by now that duress is grounds for the revocation of a will or a trust. But what factors must be proven to establish duress in a Florida estate or trust dispute?
There are two factors that must be established in order to prove duress: “(1) that the act was effected involuntarily and was not an exercise of free choice or will.
And (2) that his or her condition of mind was caused by some improper and coercive conduct by the other side.”
Follow Your Instincts
If you believe that an estate or trust was created under duress, follow your instincts. Our clients say that they had a feeling in their gut that there was something wrong. And don’t wait to talk with a trust or probate litigator.
Again, I’m attorney Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law in Florida. Give me a call and let’s talk about what happened and find out how we can help you or your family.