This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
In a transaction between persons in a confidential relation, where the party seeking relief is physically and mentally weak, and the consideration is inadequate, the addition of circumstances of oppression, such as keeping the party who is alleged to be subject to undue influence in close custody, and preventing the access of other persons in interest, or independent advisers,1 or keeping him in custody though it does not appear that other persons were actively excluded, if in fact it appears that no independent advice was given;2 or a threat by a husband to abandon his wife;3 or using a divorce suit already brought by a husband against his wife as a means of intimidation;4 or taking advantage of the financial necessities of the wife to induce her to accept a very small sum in full of her interest in his estate;5 or taking advantage of fear caused by the threats of a mob, to induce a contract for large attorney fees for defending the accused,6 still further tends to establish undue influence. The fact that under such circumstances the beneficiary prepared the conveyance, tends further to establish undue influence.7 Similar results follow where advantage is taken of oppression by a third person, even if in no way connected with the beneficiary of the transaction or acting in concert with him.8 Thus a conveyance made by an aged and feeble woman while greatly excited by the threat of another to sue her for slander, made to the infant son of her confidential agent, by a conveyance which she understands to be a sham will, to defeat the claims of the plaintiff in the prospective slander suit, has been held to be caused by undue influence.9 A transaction by which a man of ninety years of age, who is blind and in feeble health, agrees to pay a certain sum of money annually to his daughter and to her husband, and at his death to give to his daughter notes which he held against her husband, will be set aside in equity if it is shown that the only consideration for such agreement was the compromise of a dispute between the father and the daughter, the daughter refusing to surrender such notes of which she had possession, and if it is also shown that the father was living with such daughter and her husband.10 A conveyance by one who is mentally weak and who is in ill health and in need of money by reason of his physical condition, by which he conveys land for about one-fourth of its value to one who took advantage of his financial necessities, will be set aside.11
7 Loosing v. Loosing, 85 Neb. 66, 25 L. R. A. (N.S.) 920, 122 N. W. 707.
8 Shevlin v. Shevlin, 96 Minn. 398, 105 N. W. 257.
1 Sons. Coffey v. Sullivan, 63 N J. Eq. 296, 49 Atl. 520; Shawvan v. Shaw-van, 110 Wis. 590, 86 N. W. 165.
Second wife. Disch v. Timm, 101 Wis. 179, 77 N. W. 196.
2 Physician. Thomas v. Whitney, 186 111. 225, 57 N. E. 808.
Nurse. Dingman v. Romine, 141 Mo. 466, 42 S. W. 1087.
Daughter. Keller v. Gill, 92 Md. 190, 48 Atl. 69.
3Muller v. Buyck, 12 Mont. 354, 30 Pac. 386. (Coupled with fear of maltreatment.) Heckman v. Heckman, 215 Pa. St. 203, 114 Am. St. Rep. 953, 64 Atl. 425.
4Dolliver v. Dolliver, 94 Cal. 642, 30 Pac. 4.
5McConnell v. McConnell, 98 Ark. 193, 33 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1074, 136 S. W. 931.
6 Pindall v. Waterman, 84 Ark. 575, 120 Am. St. Rep. 87, 106 S. W. 946.
7 Elmstedt v. Nicholson, 186 111. 580, 58 N. E. 381.