The Effects of Undue Influence on Estate Planning
What is undue influence? It occurs when an influencer (sadly, often a family member), exerts pressure on someone that causes the person to act contrary to the way he or she normally would. This is done by the one exerting the pressure (the influencer) in order to benefit him or herself. In other words, a person influences someone who is susceptible (due to age, the onset of dementia, etc.) to make financial or other decisions for his or her benefit (and usually to the detriment of rightful heirs).
This is an unfortunately common occurrence. How can you be sure that your estate planning isn’t subject to undue influence? Is there any way for heirs who feel they were cheated by someone exerting undue influence to take recourse?
Avoiding the Effects of Undue Influence
The best way to avoid undue influence is to have an ironclad estate plan in place that spells out your wishes in no uncertain terms. Should you decide to change your will or beneficiaries later in life, you need to be sure that your estate planning is equally meticulous, so no one can make claim that there may have been an influencer behind the scenes scheming for material gain.
When an Influencer Exists
Fortunately, there are measures in place to contest wills and other estate planning that clearly involved undue influence. But this ties up funds, sometimes for years, and wastes much of those assets on court fees. Thus, it is far better for heirs if estate planning is well thought out and documented
The estate planning experts at Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help you develop your California estate plan. Call 619-344-0360 to get your comprehensive estate plan started today.