Creating a comprehensive estate plan is one of the more effective ways to retain control over what happens to assets after death. If your elderly relative has a will, trust or any other estate planning document, you hope it expresses his or her genuine intentions.
If someone exerts undue influence over your loved one, the language in his or her estate plan may not be so reliable. Fortunately, you may be able to tell if your elderly relative may be vulnerable to undue influence early enough to intervene.
As individuals age, they often experience a deep sense of isolation. If your loved one does not have a close social circle, he or she may allow an undue influencer to tinker with the estate plan. Consequently, you may want to pay special attention to new friends, caregivers and anyone else who may have recently entered your lonely relative’s life.
Estate planning can be a complicated task. To ensure your relative’s estate plan meets both his or her needs and legal requirements, you may want to recommend legal counsel. Nevertheless, if your loved one is struggling to put together a workable estate plan, an unscrupulous person may prey upon his or her confusion.
If your relative has a serious illness or injury, he or she may be rushing to complete the estate plan. While there is nothing inherently wrong with acting urgently, you do not want your loved one to make decisions that run counter to his or her interests. Put simply, if your relative is rushing, someone may seek to capitalize.
Protecting your loved one’s wishes is a good way to honor his or her legacy. Ultimately, if you believe your relative may fall victim to undue influence, you can either stop the undue influence now or contest the estate plan later.