Undue Influence in Estate Planning

Manipulation can happen sometimes when an individual is dependent or vulnerable, such as the elderly. When someone is defrauded as estate planning is taking place, it is referred to as “undue influence”. This is often seen when an individual with dementia suddenly makes changes to the estate which benefits the fraudster.

Once the changes are noticed, it may be well past the time that the defrauded individual has passed away. This is usually due to the influencer having the changes made at the last-minute so that no one notices it. The good part though is that any suspicions existing concerning the changes can have the probate take a look into it. If fraud is determined, then the will or other estate documents will be invalid.

What Undue Influence Consists Of

When a will is thought to be developed through undue influence, the probate court will need to be involved. Probate can be involved even if there is or there is not a proceeding taking place to distribute assets from the estate. There will need to be proof provided by the family making the complaint that clearly shows undue influence took place.

How Undue Influence Can Be Proven

In order to prove undue influence, it needs to be viewed in the following ways:

  • The influencer made their own wishes the wishes of the influenced and obviously benefited by it.
  • Undue influence occurred due to susceptible illness
  • There was a high amount of dependence in place
  • The changes made seem out of the ordinary for the individual

While there may be difficulty in winning a lawsuit involving undue influence, it is possible. This is due to the need for a good amount of witnesses to come forward. These witnesses will consist of those who were highly familiar with their ways. These witnesses may include advisers, doctors, caregivers, children, or their lawyer. These individuals may testify to show how much the relationship was valid between them.

When You Are Concerned, Act Fast

When you have a family member who is vulnerable and you feel like they are going through undue influence, then you need to act fast to avoid it or put a stop to it. You also need to have a stable frame of mind in order to have a will created. When an individual is not competent, a will is not able to be made or changed in a legal manner themself. When you feel your loved one is being influenced, get a hold of us today to look into the matter.

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