What should you know about undue influence?

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2022 | Estate Planning

Elderly people are among the most vulnerable in the population. Unfortunately, some people have a motive to target them and take advantage of that vulnerability, too.

This is the case with undue influence, which becomes especially prevalent in cases where people with that motive will do great damage to get their way.

What is undue influence?

Forbes discusses situations that involve undue influence in estate planning, or tangentially relate to estate planning. First, it is important to understand what undue influence is.

This is a situation in which one person or a group of people – i.e., the manipulator(s) – target a victim, who is often an elderly or otherwise vulnerable person with an estate plan. Their goal is to either gain a share of power in the estate plan such as being named executor, or to gain a larger share of the assets at stake.

Tactics they use

The perpetrator will carry out their plans through various manipulative tactics. For example, they may attempt to isolate the person in question to keep them away from outside sources that might notice something amiss. They may also lie directly to the victim, such as pretending that their other family members do not make any effort to see them when this is not true. They might also take advantage of poor memory and confusion to get the victim to sign away their rights or assets.

Anyone can attempt to commit these manipulative acts. However, it is most commonly either the caretaker of the victim or a family member who has access to them. This is something important to keep in mind when trying to determine if undue influence is at play.