Undue influence occurs when a person’s free will is overpowered and replaced by the will of another. In Missouri, a finding of undue influence generally requires the person who exerted influence to have been in a position of trust, and to have caused the coercion through active conduct. Although the elements seem fairly straightforward, actually proving undue influence can be much trickier. Because undue influence is often only demonstrated through circumstantial evidence, the ensuing courtroom testimony provides for a telling tale from lawyers and hairstylists and priests.
In Nestel v. Rohach, three of the four Nestel siblings tried to remove their sister, Melissa, as the personal representative of their mother’s estate. The siblings claimed that Melissa exercised undue influence over Joanne, their mother, when Joanne made Melissa the beneficiary of several bank accounts containing substantial assets. At trial, the jury found that there wasRead More