When a loved one passes away, it is a time for mourning and reflection. Family members come together to respect the final wishes as laid out in the deceased’s will if they have one. Gallup reported that only 45% of Americans say they have a will. This important document should reflect their true intentions for their legacy and the distribution of their assets. However, sometimes you might see troubling signs that suggest your loved one did not sign their will of their own free will. You may spot indications that point to duress, which can question the legitimacy of the will.
Duress involves someone applying pressure on a person to such an extent that it compromises their free will. With respect to a will, it means your loved one might not have made decisions freely but under influence or intimidation. It is important to recognize signs of duress to ensure that the will honors your loved one’s genuine intentions.
Unusual haste in signing the will
A rushed process in signing a will might hint at duress. Drafting a will is usually a deliberate process that should not suffer from undue speed.
Changes in behavior or mood
Notice any unusual stress, fear or anxiety in your loved one’s behavior or mood before they signed the will. Such changes could indicate pressure from someone else.
Uncharacteristic provisions in the will
A significant warning sign is a will that contains unexpected provisions that do not fit your loved one’s character, especially if it favors individuals who previously were not close or significantly changes asset distribution in unexpected ways.
Signs of isolation
Isolation is a common tactic used to exert pressure. If you find that someone restricted visits or communications with your loved one before the signing, they might have been trying to influence the will’s content.
Navigating the aftermath of a loved one’s passing is difficult, especially with worries that someone pressured them during the will’s signing. Take these signs seriously and consider them as you work to honor your loved one’s true wishes.