Protecting your aging father’s estate from undue influence

| Dec 11, 2019 | Estate Litigation, Wills & Trusts

If you have an elderly father, you probably want to encourage him to think about estate planning. With some advance consideration, your aging loved one can keep some control over what happens to his assets after death. You must also ensure that someone does not exert undue influence over your parent’s wishes.

Your dad has a right to decide how to handle his personal wealth. He also enjoys wide latitude to gift whatever property he sees fit to whomever he wants. Unfortunately, though, an unscrupulous individual may supplant his or her will over your father’s wishes. If so, you can likely contest the estate plan based on an undue influence theory. Before you get to that point, however, you can take certain steps to prevent undue influence from occurring.

Resist isolation 

Commonly, aging individuals feel a sense of isolation and loneliness, especially if they live in nursing homes. If someone wants to unduly influence your dad, he or she may take advantage of this fact. That is, the person may further isolate your parent, making it seem like the undue influencer is the most important person in your loved one’s life. This, in turn, may encourage your dad to rework his estate plan.

Check for gifts 

If your father is under undue influence, he may not wait until his death to dispose of property. Instead, he may give seemingly strange gifts to an individual he just met. By keeping an eye on your parent’s finances, you can uncover this behavior before it becomes a bigger problem.

Question relationships 

There is nothing wrong with forming meaningful relationships later in life. In fact, doing so is often an effective way to remain happy, vibrant and healthy. Nonetheless, if your dad develops a deep friendship or romantic relationship during his final years of life, his partner may not have good intentions. Rather, the individual may be trying to steal your loved one’s assets and claim your inheritance.

If someone exercises undue influence over your aging father’s estate plan, you can likely contest it. Nevertheless, you likely want to stop the manipulation altogether. By watching for the signs of undue influence, you can advocate for your dad’s best interests.