Estate planning involves the drafting of legal documents that provide instructions on how your assets should be distributed upon your death. You can also use estate planning tools to nominate guardians for your young children, manage your finances and even your health care needs.
As with all legal documents, parties should know what they are signing up to and they should also do so voluntarily. Occasionally, individuals can be pressured or manipulated into drafting or changing legal documents against their will. This is commonly referred to as undue influence. If undue influence is proven, then documents can be challenged in the courts on this basis and invalidated. Outlined below are some of the more common examples of undue influence.
False companionship is something that beneficiaries and testators need to be wary of, particularly if the testator is eldelry and has a considerable amount of assets. Usually, friends, family and care providers are sincere in their motives, but there are rare occasions where this is not the case. Sometimes, a person will only appear when the testator is at their most vulnerable, in an attempt to get close to them and eventually manipulate them to change the will in their favor.
The guilt trip
Another tactic that manipulative individuals often employ is the guilt trip. They might falsely tell the testator that they will be in danger if they don’t receive a considerable amount of money in the will. If this is untrue, then it could be classed as undue influence if changes to the will are made for this reason.
A will and other estate planning documents must reflect the wishes of those who they represent. Having legal guidance when dealing with estate planning and administration can help ensure this happens.