The term “undue influence” appears in cases where a family member feels concerned about a deceased elder’s estate. For example, you may suspect that another party (friend, family member or caregiver) influenced your elder into unusually altering his or her estate plan.
Red flags that may indicate undue influence
There are a few things that should definitely make you suspicious that your loved one was somehow manipulated, including:
- New and substantial changes to their will right before the decedent passed away
- A loving parent left you or another sibling out of the will without explanation or reason
- Valuable cash or property gifts were left to an outside party (e.g. caregiver)
- The division of your elder’s assets is significantly unequal to your family members
Unfortunately, many people choose not to investigate these kinds of issues because they are not sure any unethical behaviors occurred. For instance, maybe your elder wanted to leave you or another party out of the will, and if so, you feel you have no right to interfere.
Although this is an understandable response, especially if you want to ensure your elder’s wishes come true, you may be doing your loved one a disservice by not investigating. Our legal team has experience dealing with issues of undue influence in a will. As such, we like to encourage concerned family members to investigate these issues with guidance from a law firm.
Choosing to investigate the matter may not lead to estate litigation in the end. However, if you discover that your loved one was indeed a victim of undue influence, you can right this wrong, and the legal system can help.
Undue influence is as illegal as it is immoral, meaning that the law is on your side in such matters and can help you protect your loved one’s final wishes. Our estate litigation lawyers encourage you to review more of our website if you want to find out what you can do about the undue influence of your loved one.