Estate Planning: Signs of Undue Influence
The estate planning process allows a person to solidify important wishes in writing. This can include monetary disbursements, property decisions, and financial plans for dependent family members. The risk of your loved one being manipulated increases as they age; this manipulation is often known as undue influence. The following signs may be subtle, but they can assist you in determining whether your loved one is being manipulated:
• Isolation: A once active/outgoing loved one becoming withdrawn and no longer accepting phone calls or returning emails. A loved one not allowed to speak on the phone, or to visitors, without being monitored by the person seeking to influence them
• Playing Favorites: A common sign will be a paper trail pointing to financial favoritism of certain family or friends through the creation of gifts that go against logic. Such as, changing a will to leave all assets to a single person, the sudden creation of joint accounts, or transferring of money to the “favorite” person
• Reliance on the Influencer: Signs of excessive reliance can include an overbearing presence of a particular family member, friend, or caregiver in the loved one’s life, or suddenly relying on this overbearing person for decisions on all matters
In Arizona, proving undue influence can be incredibly difficult. The best way to avoid undue influence, probate litigation, or estate disputes is to work with an experienced attorney.