Is your parent getting older and finalizing an estate plan? You might feel concerned about the well-being of your loved one during this time. If you are suspicious whether something is happening with the estate planning process, you should be aware of a term known as “undue influence.”
Undue influence occurs when a loved one is heavily pressured and coerced by another person into making the will favorable for that person. If this happens, you may be able to challenge the will. Keep reading for some warning signs of undue influence.
Are you hearing less from your parent? If you notice that your loved one has stopped making regular phone calls or in-person visits to family or friends, it could be a potential sign of undue influence. One tactic of influencers is to isolate the testator from friends and family. This makes it easier to persuade the testator.
2. The influencer takes charge
While elderly people often need assistance or cannot make appointments, sometimes it goes too far. One strategy for influencers is to claim the testator needs rest, and, subsequently, they take over meetings. The influencer may also insist on being present at any meetings or even prohibit visits to your loved one.
3. Favoring certain beneficiaries
If you notice that a meeting is set up to change the format of the will, pay attention to the changes. A warning sign of undue influence is when a specific beneficiary is heavily favored with assets. If the caretaker is benefiting the most from the will, there might be something fishy occurring.
Do any of these signs sound familiar? As your loved one continues to age and the risk of reduced mental capacity increases, you should be on alert for signs of undue influence. If you suspect something is going on, you should talk to an estate planning attorney for advice.