There are many people who may step forward to take care of an elderly loved one in his or her final stage of life. However, not all family, friends, and caretakers have the best intentions, and if someone who has spent a considerable amount of time with your family member suddenly stands to inherit most or all of your loved one’s estate, undue influence may have played a role in that decision. If you suspect that your elderly loved one has been unduly influenced in his or her will, you need an experienced Ohio probate attorney to help. Call Kryszak Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation of your case with a highly qualified attorney.
What is Undue Influence?
Undue influence occurs when a person, typically a family member, friend, or caretaker, exerts so much influence over an elderly loved one that they actually supplant the wishes of your loved one for their own in a will and other estate planning documents. This usually results in the influencer inheriting a substantial amount or the entirety of the estate. The threshold for undue influence is high, which is why having an experienced attorney review your case is critical. It is not enough that your loved one relies on this person or be influenced by their opinion on occasional issues. The level of influence must be significant to the point of creating or changing an established estate plan.
Signs of Undue Influence
There are a number of signs that may indicate undue influence being exerted on your elderly loved one. Signs of undue influence can include the following:
- Your loved one stops or makes significantly less phone calls to family members
- Your loved one stops visiting friends and family members
- Your loved one has mood swings
- Your loved one increasingly says that “the influencer can do this task for me”
- The influencer prohibits visits or takes extra steps to prohibit contact by those who could help the person break free from the undue influence
- The influencer prohibits or monitors telephone calls
- The influencer frequently moves the person around to different living environments in order to prevent contact and visits
- Your loved one is unaware where the checkbook, financial statements, and original will or trust are located
- The influencer is added to the person’s bank accounts and makes financial transactions
- Your loved one faces excessive criticism by the influencer
- Your loved one visits an estate planning attorney or financial advisor recommended by the influencer
- Your loved one makes changes to long-standing customs or habits
- Your loved one turns over the planning of daily life activities to the influencer
- The influencer spends excessive amounts of time around the person, much of which is unsupervised
- The influencer speaks poorly about the person’s family and friends
If you see the signs of undue influence with your elderly loved one, it is important that you speak with an experienced estate planning and probate attorney as soon as possible.
Call or Contact Us Now
If you believe that undue influence affected your loved one’s will, talk to an expert at Kryszak Law Firm today. Call the office or contact us to schedule a free consultation of your case.