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What Do You Need to Know About Undue Influence?

August 12, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

The law enables you to use tools such as trusts and wills to accomplish your goals and provide for the people you care about either during your life or after you pass away. While these are definitely protective tools to begin with, there are unfortunately many people who see themselves as opportunists who use these tools to try to take advantage of others, especially seniors who might be experiencing cognitive decline.

The targets of these kind of schemes are often those people who have significant assets who are vulnerable due to memory issues, advanced age concerns, illness, or family isolations. Family members who might have been expecting an inheritance from a loved one could even be surprised that they are cut out of the will entirely or received much less than they anticipated because another party has exerted undue influence on your loved one.

If a person has received a substantial benefit from a trust or a will and had a confidential relationship with a person who created it and is also active in procuring this gift, this could lead to a presumption of undue influence. This could be a formal fiduciary relationship or an informal trust relationship in which the influencer exerts his or her impact to get the person to include them in the will to make a gift or update their trust such that the influencer is the beneficiary. Being knowledgeable about undue influence and how it can potentially impact your estate is important.   

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