Estate planning can benefit anyone, but it is often elderly and potentially vulnerable people who take center stage. There are so many different estate planning documents that serve numerous purposes.
It’s vital that estate planning meets the needs of your loved one, and for this to happen, estate planning instruments must be implemented voluntarily. Undue influence occurs when your loved one has been subjected to manipulation or pressure while drafting a will or other legal documents.
What does undue influence look like and what can you do about it?
Odd decisions made last minute could be a sign
You assisted your relative in getting their estate plan set up. As far as you were aware, it matched their current wishes. Suddenly, they announce that they have made changes without you, and close family members have now been excluded from the will. You investigate further and subsequently find out that their caregiver has been included at the expense of family members. Could this be down to undue influence?
Look out for insincere kindness from caregivers
Caregivers are tasked with looking after those who need a little help. While they are paid for this work, they also tend to find it rewarding, and it certainly is admirable to take care of those in need. However, a small minority of caregivers are in it for the wrong reasons. They may be playing the long game of manipulating vulnerable and elderly people into including them in their estate plans. Most kindness is sincere but insincere kindness around estate planning is worth looking out for.
If you suspect that undue influence is present in your relative’s estate plan, you can raise a challenge and invalidate the will and other documents. To do this successfully, it may be in your best interests to seek legal guidance.