The estate plan or will that someone leaves behind when they die should be a reflection of their wishes and relationships. People often invest much personal effort into the creation of an estate plan that leaves something meaningful for each of their loved ones.
Unfortunately, sometimes estate planning documents reflect not what the testator wanted but what someone else in their life demanded. People can sometimes threaten, coerce or force older adults to change their wills. Caregivers, especially children or spouses serving as caregivers, might use their position to pressure older or vulnerable adults into making changes to their estate plans.
How does that pressure affect someone’s plans?
Caregivers can manipulate people using their position as leverage
A caregiver providing medical support for older or vulnerable adults is in a position of significant authority. They might determine when someone eats, when they go to the bathroom or how much pain medication they receive.
Some people will use that power for personal gain by exerting undue influence to demand changes to an estate plaid for their personal benefit. Although the person in their care may have long been clear about the legacy they intend, they may eventually feel like they have no option but to change their will. After all, until they agree, they may find themselves denied pain relief or left eating cold food every day.
When an older adult completely depends on someone else for their daily needs, they may feel like they have no alternative but to acquiesce to the demands about how they distribute their assets in their estate plan. If you suspect undue influence led to your aging loved one changing their estate plan, you may have grounds to challenge their last estate planning documents in probate court.
Learning about the various grounds for estate challenges can help you determine if you have grounds to initiate probate litigation.