If your elderly parents require round-the-clock care, you may have decided to move them into a nursing home. While you may be able to trust professionals at the facility to provide top-notch care, you probably want to keep a close eye on your parents’ estate plan.
Undue influence, when someone overrides an estate planner’s interests, is one of the more common reasons to contest a will. While undue influence can happen to anyone, nursing home residents are often increasingly vulnerable to it.
The nursing home can be a strange place. While residents live in close proximity to others, they often experience a sense of isolation that stems from being away from relatives and friends. If your parents are looking to fill the void, they may allow an undue influencer to get too close.
Because your parents come from a different generation, they may feel guilty about asking for help from the nursing home staff. To show gratitude, your parents may decide to include caregivers in their estate plan. While there may be nothing inherently wrong with doing so, you do not want a nurse or someone else to take advantage of your parents’ generosity.
Individuals must have a sound mind to create a legally enforceable estate plan. Unfortunately, there is usually no bright line between mental stability and instability. If your parent’s mental health is declining gradually due to normal aging or a neurological condition, an undue influencer may try to manipulate them.
You do not want your parent’s estate plan to surprise you after their death. Ultimately, by regularly visiting with your parents about their wishes, you may be able to stop undue influence before it causes significant harm to your parents and to you.