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What estate administrators should know about undue influence

As an administrator of an estate, you have a lot of responsibilities. One of your duties is to represent and protect the estate and decedent against legal challenges. It is important for you to be aware of and prepared for claims of undue influence.

If a beneficiary contests a will due to undue influence, he or she makes claims that the testator was a victim of manipulation or coercion. Not all charges of undue influence are true, so it is vital to know the signs of a potentially legitimate claim. 

Testator withdrawal or isolation

The person who writes a will should have normal family and social connections up until his or her death. If a testator who is constantly in contact with family members and friends suddenly stops contact when creating or changing an estate plan, it may be because of an individual's wrongful influence. If there is evidence of someone purposefully isolating the decedent, you may face a legitimate complaint.

Withholding of medications

Most testators have some type of caregiver or close family member at the end of their lives. This person may take on the responsibility of filling and administering medications for the testator. If the individual wants to manipulate the testator, he or she may withhold medications that may impact the testator's mental and physical capacity. If a beneficiary shows inconsistencies in medical records and how much medication remains, it may be an indication of undue influence. 

Unfair or unexpected outcomes

While there may be some surprises during every estate administration process, it is usually fairly straightforward. That said, if beneficiaries are shocked to find out a particular outcome that seems unfair, it may be because of the undue influence of the person benefitting from the outcome. 

The more you understand about this type of unlawful coercion, the better administrator you can be.

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