If you have an older parent finishing up his or her estate plan, you may have some concerns about it. Elderly people can become susceptible to coercion and pressure by other people, such as family members or friends. Abusers take advantage of the physical and mental weakness of elderly people. This can impact the estate plan significantly.
This type of intimidation is known as undue influence. If undue influence becomes a factor in an estate plan decision, part or all of the estate plan may be subject to litigation. Keep an eye out for the following red flags of undue influence.
An individual takes control
Elderly people often rely on others for help completing basic tasks, from traveling to appointments to bathing. While it is normal for a family member to step in and provide assistance for your parent, there are times when it may go too far. The caretaker may abuse his or her role through manipulation tactics. If an individual stops you from visiting your parent or being too controlling in another manner, something may be happening behind closed doors to affect the estate plan.
If you or other family members regularly keep in touch with your aging parent, that is a good sign. However, if you notice breaches in communication, it may raise suspicions. When there are significantly fewer visits and phone calls, you have a right to worry. An abusive person often isolates victims from family and friends to exert influence.
Decisions favor certain heirs
Often, families have meetings to discuss the estate plan. If involved in any such meeting, you should pay close attention to any new changes. For example, there may be a modified or completely new will that heavily favors one beneficiary. If the caretaker and suspected influencer is getting the most benefits, there could be something sinister happening.