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Avoiding "Undue Influence" in the Preparation of Wills

Assisting in the preparation of a will can cause potential legal trouble in the future.

In re Estate of Brevard, 213 S.W.3d 298 (Tenn. App. 2006)

Background. A pastor (Pastor Jon) and his wife stayed at a hotel on several occasions that was owned by an elderly woman (Ellen), and a friendship developed. Ellen began visiting Pastor Jon and his wife in their home, and often attended Pastor Jon's church.

Pastor Jon claimed that Ellen asked him to help her write a will, and so he purchased a software package capable of producing legal documents. Ellen came to Pastor Jon's office at the church to draft the will. Pastor Jon described the procedure as follows:

I had purchased the law program either the day before she called or that morning, installing it on the computer, and pulled up will forms. It asked questions. I asked her what it asked, and I typed in the information. I just said, what do you want to do here? She'd tell me, I'd type it in, and printed it out. She carried it home ...

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Posted:
  • May 1, 2007

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