Jane informed Victor that she had sold most of his former property and that she was leaving him permanently. Can Victor have the agreement set aside as a result of undue influence? Explain.
Jane Francois married Victor H. Francois. At the time of the marriage, Victor was a fifty-year-old bachelor living with his elderly mother, and Jane was a thirty-year-old, twice-divorced mother of two. Victor had a relatively secure financial portfolio; Jane, on the other hand, brought no money or property to the marriage. The marriage deteriorated quickly over the next couple of years, with disputes centered on financial matters. During this period, Jane systematically gained a joint interest in and took control of most of Victor’s assets. Three years after they married, Jane contracted Harold Monoson, an attorney, to draw up divorce papers. Victor was unaware of Jane’s decision until he was taken to Monoson’s office, where Monoson presented for Victor’s signature a “Property Settlement and Separation Agreement.” Monoson told Victor that he would need an attorney, but Jane vetoed Victor’s choice. Monoson then asked another lawyer, Gregory Ball, to come into the office. Ball read the agreement and strenuously advised Victor not to sign it because it would commit him to financial suicide. The agreement transferred most of Victor’s remaining assets to Jane. Victor, however, signed it because Jane and Monoson persuaded him that it was the only way that his marriage could be saved. In October of the following year, Jane informed Victor that she had sold most of his former property and that she was leaving him permanently. Can Victor have the agreement set aside as a result of undue influence? Explain.
Individual V can set the agreement void as a matter of undue influence. Individual V, in order to save the marriage, agreed to the terms of the agreement of transferring most of its assets to the wife Individual H and their attorney persuaded Individual V to sign the agreement papers as the agreement terms were unfavorable to Individual V, which makes it clear that the signatures made under the name of Individual V were out of force and influence instead of free and independent mind.