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Wills, Trusts, and Estates

A California court rejected an attempt by heirs to revoke a $1.5 million gift their 85-year-old mother made to her church.

Key point 4-03. A gift to a church or minister may be challenged on the ground that the recipient unduly influenced the donor into making the gift. There are several factors the courts will consider in deciding whether or not undue influence occurred, including the age and mental health of the donor, and the presence of independent legal advice. Undue influence generally must be proven by "clear and convincing" evidence.

Undue Influence

* A California court rejected an attempt by heirs to revoke a $1.5 million gift their 85-year-old mother made to her church. A woman ("Alma") was born in 1910. Although she worked as a school teacher for many years, her estate was worth several million dollars by the late 1980's. Alma was a long time member of a Baptist church. However, in 1987 she joined a Presbyterian church. She attended services regularly until 1990 or 1991 when a broken hip reduced ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 2002

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