Estate planning is extremely important and it is certainly something that everyone should consider. The process allows you to ensure that your loved ones are looked after in the event that something happens to you.
While all legal adults can draft a will and implement other estate planning tools, this is often something that elderly individuals prioritize. Some elderly individuals can be vulnerable to manipulation. When this happens in estate planning, it is usually referred to as undue influence. Outlined below are a few practical examples of how undue influence works.
Making the person feel guilty
The majority of friends, family members and other individuals who are close to the person will have their best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and different sides of people can become apparent when money is involved. One tactic that manipulators commonly use is to make the individual feel guilty. They might claim that they are not going to be able to survive much longer without any money. While this may be legitimate and the testator may have the intention of including them in the will, it could also be a form of undue influence. The testator’s will and other estate planning documents must reflect their true wishes, not the desires of someone else.
Another common tactic employed to manipulate testators is to spread false rumors about other beneficiaries. For example, a person may claim that a family member doesn’t really care about the individual and that they are only interested in their money. If their ultimate aim is to receive a greater benefit for themselves, at the expense of other innocent parties, then this could be classified as undue influence.
If you suspect foul play with regards to estate planning, then there are a number of options open to you. Seeking legal guidance will give you a better idea of what to do.