Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

Is there a link between loneliness and undue influence?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Estate Planning

If you have an elderly relative who needs in-depth care, you may have neither the time nor the skillset to provide it. Luckily, there are plenty of nursing homes that can provide top-level care to your loved one. Still, the nursing home can be a lonely and isolating place.

According to a 2020 survey by Altarum, 76% of nursing home residents claimed to be lonelier in 2020 than they were during the previous year. Because loneliness can be detrimental to anyone’s overall health, it is important not to ignore it. Moreover, loneliness might cause your relative to fall victim to undue influence.

What is undue influence?

In the estate planning context, undue influence happens when someone takes advantage of a person, usually to the person’s detriment. For example, an undue influencer might convince a person to live assets to him or her, rather than leaving them to children or other heirs.

How does loneliness contribute to undue influence?

When individuals are lonely, they often think innocuous social interactions are more meaningful. They even may befriend others without properly vetting them. Put simply, if your loved one is feeling lonely, he or she might lean too heavily on someone who is eager to take advantage of him or her.

What can you do to stop undue influence?

To combat undue influence, it is advisable to minimize your relative’s loneliness. Indeed, you can protect your loved one by visiting and calling more frequently. When you do, do not be afraid to ask about new acquaintances and friends. Also, consider discussing your loved one’s estate plan with him or her.

Ultimately, if you cannot protect your loved one from undue influence during his or her lifetime, you may have little choice but to contest the estate plan after your relative dies.