Estate planning is an important process that involves organizing a person’s finances once they are gone and several other aspects. As with other legal agreements, parties to estate planning documents must have acted voluntarily and have been of sound mind.
Unfortunately, there are occasions when people can be subjected to undue influence when drafting their estate plans, particularly elderly individuals. What are some of the more common signs that an elderly relative has been pressured into altering their estate plan?
Sudden and drastic changes
You’ve helped your elderly relative get organized with their estate plan over the last few months. You took your time, got them the appropriate advice and a will was drafted according to their wishes at the time. They were happy and content with how matters had been handled. Suddenly, they’ve made some pretty drastic changes. They’ve excluded certain individuals from the will and left considerable assets to only one person. If this individual has only recently appeared on the scene, it’s possible that they may have manipulated these changes.
Difficulty contacting them
You’ve always been in touch regularly with your loved one. You call every day and visit weekly. Recently, they haven’t been answering or returning your calls. When you arrange a visit, something always comes up, such as an illness or prior engagement. Your regular pattern of contact has been broken. Is someone else making it difficult for you to get in contact? Those who manipulate vulnerable people often attempt to show that they are the only person who cares, and they should be rewarded for this.
Proving undue influence can be tricky, but it is possible for you to raise a challenge to estate planning instruments if you suspect its presence. Having a knowledgeable party on your side will help you in achieving a just outcome for both you and your loved ones.