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What is the legal requirement criterion for an "expert

What is the legal requirement...
What is the legal requirement criterion for an "expert witness" to be deemed qualified in a Florida Probate lawsuit with regard to the issue of the presence or not of "undue influence" in a will dispute.
It is well established that undue influence is in the mind of the actor, and that the apparent willingness to do or not do a thing, can just as readily be the result of honest intent or illegal coercion. Therefore, absent any legally non-existant mind readers, nobody can so qualify. Moreover, the attempt to qualify oneself by attempting to extend the concept of competence to include the concept of the absence of undue influence, should not be allowed in a court of law.
Questions:
1. Is it correct to say that there are no experts in the filed of determining Undue influence in the case of a decedent signing a will?, and if so,
2. Would it be right to so inform any person attempting to testify on the issue?
3. Finally, if the person was deposed and did not agree he was not qualified and therefore wished to testify anyway, shouldn't such a person also be made a defendant in the case, on the grounds that his improper testimony would be without foundational and highly prejudicial?
4. Finally, would it not be correct to say that the ONLY evidence of the presence or absence of undue influence must be determined by the circumstances and facts of the case and not by any alleged expert "opinions".
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1/18/2018
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Business Law
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only. Please feel free to ignore any phone service request, the expert does not send those unless asked by customer and they are sent by the site automatically.

There is no different standard for experts on an undue influence case or any other case. The FL courts use the Frye standard when determining whether or not an expert is qualified to testify on an issue. See: Hadden v. State, 690 So. 2d 573 (FL 1997). So, in order to qualify as an expert the person must have training and expertise in a scientific field and the evidence he is testifying about has to be based on an easily replicated and widely acceptable scientific principle in accordance with Frye. The judge is the gatekeeper of the evidence and their discretion as to witness qualification and credibility will not be disturbed except for abuse of discretion standard.

The experts that would be available would be psychologists or psychiatrists or doctors who would only be able to testify to state of mind and how undue influence actually works, not about the particular person's state of mind unless they examined the decedent prior to signing the will. If they examined the person before they signed the will, then they could possibly testify to her state of mind.

If someone tries to testify as an expert on the issue, you need to challenge their qualifications and also their first hand knowledge about the decedent.

If he did not agree he is not qualified, then it is up to the opposing party to present evidence to the court that the alleged expert is not qualified or and that the testimony is not based on first hand knowledge or would be more prejudicial than helpful to the court to decide the issue.

Undue influence is determined based on evidence of the conduct exerted on the person together with possibly state of mind from someone who actually examined the person at the time of signing the will.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 126,697
Experience: All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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