Issues of Undue Influence in Estate Planning
In some cases, people who know that they have relatives or loved ones that are emotionally or physically vulnerable will attempt to influence their estate planning decisions so that they benefit more in their inheritance upon the passing of their loved one. These people are often trusted by the person who created the plan, and understand the best ways to influence them.
To prove that undue influence existed in a person’s estate planning practices, you may need to show that:
- The will left behind property in a way that a person typically would not expect, such as leaving out close family members in favor of other people without giving any sort of clear explanation.
- The person who made the will was somehow dependent on the person who you believe exerted the influence, or that they had a clear trust in that person. This is typically referred to in court as a “confidential relationship.”
- The person who made the will was weakened by illness, age or frailty, which made them more susceptible to undue influence.
- The influencer clearly took advantage of the person who made the will, and benefitted from doing so.
Remember: not all influence in estate planning is undue influence. People are allowed to give their opinions about someone else’s estate plan and offer advice. It is more likely to become undue influence in the presence of frailty and the influencer clearly attempting to take advantage of the will-maker’s weakened state.
It can be difficult to prove the presence of undue influence, but if you believe that it existed in your loved one’s case, then you may need to help enforce your loved one’s true wishes for his or her estate. Work with the Tampa estate litigation attorneys at BaumannKangas Estate Law. to exercise your legal rights.