The Signs of Undue Influence in Estate Planning

The Signs of Undue Influence in Estate Planning

One of the more common reasons for disputes over estate plans is accusations of undue influence. This involves one person exerting influence over the person planning their estate in such a way that it compromises that person’s agency and ability to make their own decisions.

If one is able to prove decisions in a will or trust were the result of undue influence, a judge could declare the will or trust invalid.

Here are a few of the most common red flags that could indicate the presence of undue influence in estate planning.

  • The person being influenced stops calling or visiting friends or family members, or significantly reduces the frequency of those calls or visits.
  • The person starts to show an increased and unusual reliance on the person suspected of being the influencer.
  • The person being influenced starts to see unusual mood swings or personality changes.
  • The influencer attempts to prohibit visits to the person being influenced, often using excuses such as they need rest or should not be disturbed.
  • The influencer attempts to monitor all visits or refuse privacy.
  • The influencer prohibits or monitors telephone calls.
  • The person loses awareness of where their checkbook, financial statements, estate planning documents and other important documents are located.
  • The person chooses estate planning attorneys and financial experts recommended by the influencer.
  • The person makes sudden, unexplained changes to habits or customs they have had for a long time.
  • The influencer spends an increasingly large amount of time around the person they are attempting to influence.

For more information about some of the most common signs of undue influence, contact an experienced Tampa, FL estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.