Citation. In re Kaufman, 25 A.D.2d 48, 266 N.Y.S.2d 958, 1966 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5042 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t Feb. 3, 1966).
Brief Fact Summary. Testator, Robert Kaufman left almost his entire estate to the defendant, Walter Weiss. The plaintiffs, the Kaufman family, claimed the will was invalid because the defendant exerted undue influence over Robert Kaufman in the construction of his will.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A will is invalid where the evidence shows that the testator did not freely and voluntarily creates his or her will because another individual exerted undue influence over his mind.
Held. Yes. A will is invalid for reason of undue influence where the evidence shows that the beneficiary dominated the testator, the testator could be easily taken advantage of, and the testator relies exclusively on the beneficiary’s knowledge and judgment concerning the disposition of all material things in the testator’s life. Here the proponent of the will planted in the testator’s mind that his family was obstructing his goal of independence and made false accusations against the testator’s brother. The testator was inexperienced, and the proponent exerted undue influence over him when he disposed of almost his entire estate to the proponent.
Discussion. The Court found that evidence showing that the proponent kept Weiss away from his family and caused him to distrust them was enough to show that Weiss unduly influenced Kaufma.