Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

Protecting against undue influence during estate planning

On Behalf of | May 23, 2023 | Estate Planning

An estate plan is an important document that protects your loved one’s wishes and properly distributes their assets. However, you may suspect that someone exerted undue influence upon them during the creation of the plan.

Explore the steps you should take when you believe that someone coerced your loved one while drafting their estate plan so you can safeguard their best interests.

Recognizing signs of undue influence

Recognizing the signs of undue influence is the first step in addressing this concerning situation. Watch for sudden changes in your loved one’s demeanor or behavior, particularly if they become increasingly isolated from friends and family or show a marked change in their decision-making patterns. Additionally, be mindful of any new individuals who appear to have an influence on their decisions, especially if they have a close relationship or wield significant control over their personal affairs.

Taking protective measures

Initiate a conversation with your loved one to express your concerns genuinely and compassionately. Create a safe space for them to discuss their estate planning decisions and express any potential pressures or influences they may be experiencing. Active and supportive communication can help uncover any undue influence and provide reassurance that their best interests are being prioritized.

Urge your loved one to seek independent financial advice from someone who can objectively assess their plans. This advice can shed light on potential concerns, provide guidance and ensure that their wishes align with their best interests.

It is also helpful to document your concerns. Keep a detailed record of anything that concerns you. Make sure to include dates, specific actions and every individual involved. Documentation serves as valuable evidence if legal intervention becomes necessary to protect your loved one’s interests.

By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your loved one’s estate planning decisions align with their true intentions and safeguard their interests from undue influence. Remember, each situation is unique, and you should always handle it with respect and care, thinking about your loved one’s needs and not yours.