Estate planning is a difficult, time-consuming process in which every detail of a person’s life and every desire they have for their post-death care undergoes examination.
It is also a delicate time where some unscrupulous individuals may want to insert their own will and desire, taking advantage of an aging individual to do so.
Who gets taken advantage of?
Cornell Law School takes a look at undue influence, a problem plaguing estates everywhere. Undue influence refers to a situation in which a person – or people, in some cases – work to fool the person an estate plan belongs to in order to make substantial gains from the estate itself in an unfair way.
For example, the child of an aging parent with dementia could take advantage of their parent’s poor memory to get them to sign away their rights, leaving control of the estate in their hands instead.
In most cases, the people who manipulate these victims want to do so either to gain more control over the estate itself or to increase the number of assets they will gain from it after the death of the person the estate belongs to.
The damage of manipulation
Undue influence involves manipulative tactics that can sometimes cause psychological or emotional distress or even damage. For example, many manipulators will attempt to isolate the victim away from their family and friends. This allows them to control the flow of information that reaches the victim, and it also results in the victim suffering from loneliness and depression.
Acts of undue influence are illegal, so family members or loved ones who notice that things do not seem right should consider launching an investigation so they can take further action later if needed.