The definition of undue influence is when a person is induced to act otherwise than by their own free will or without adequate attention to the consequences. In terms of an elderly loved one being treated wrongly, it’s when someone takes unfair advantage of another’s weakness or uses their authority to take an unfair advantage over someone.
For example, your elderly parent has a caregiver that suddenly becomes unusually close. Perhaps they start spending more time hanging around or getting gifts from your mom or dad, then your parent passes away and you find out that their will has been changed and he or she was convinced by the caregiver to leave them everything. Before this happens, here are 5 ways to identify undue influence in your elderly loved ones.
Unexpected Gifts or Money
Courts will look at whether the testator gave away his or her money or property unusually or unexpectedly. In other words, did your loved one leave their estate to someone that looks skeptical? For example, if your loved one has children but left everything to a hired caregiver, that would be extremely suspicious and cause for concern.
Consider Your Loved One’s Mental and Physical State
When analyzing an undue influence case, courts will consider the age and health of your loved one at the time of the suspicious activity. Maybe the elderly person was enrolled in memory care facilities in Colorado, for instance.
If your loved one is unable to make a capable decision due to deteriorating mental state or physical conditions, and there is proof that he or she made changes to a will at that time, you may have enough evidence that is relevant to your claim.
Was Your Loved One Isolated?
An influencer might try to separate your loved one from you or your family to make them think they’re the only person that cares about them. This could cause your loved one to become susceptible to undue influence and leave the caregiver their estate. Courts will take into consideration whether your loved one was isolated from longtime friends or family.
Scrutinize Special Relationships During Times That Undue Influence May Take Place
Every relationship your loved one has doesn’t need to cause concern. However, if a caregiver or neighbor starts giving them rides to an estate planning attorney’s office or was present when he or she signed their will, you probably have cause for concern at the very least. In these situations, the influencer could use their relationship to gain an unfair advantage over your loved one.
Your Loved One Doesn’t Recall or Won’t Explain Changes to a Will
Perhaps you found out ahead of time that your loved one has made changes to their Living Will, but they can’t explain why the decision was made or they don’t even remember making the changes. This would be a cause for great concern. It could mean that someone else has seized control of their finances or is acting outside of their financial wishes.
If you suspect any of the following five scenarios, it’s vital that you speak with legal representation like these Sacramento elder undue influence attorneys immediately. While you will have a court battle ahead, you can set the record straight and hold the guilty party accountable.