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.
If the recipient of a gift unduly influenced the donor into making the gift, the donor may have the gift canceled. This rule applies both to direct gifts made during one's lifetime and to gifts contained in documents (such as wills) which take effect at the donor's death. Undue influence is more than persuasion or suggestion. It connotes total dominion and control over the mind of another. As one court noted, "undue influence is that influence which, by force, coercion or ...
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