Typically, those who are planning their estates entrust professionals and family members to offer them sound guidance and abide by their wishes. Unfortunately, this trust is sometimes betrayed, particularly in cases where an individual exerts undue influence on the person planning their estate. When this happens, an individual’s assets and wishes are at risk. Keep reading to learn more about undue influence in estate planning or contact the Law Offices of Stephanie Hon to speak to an estate planning attorney.
Undue influence occurs when someone exerts pressure on an individual to influence them to act contrary to their wishes or in a way that benefits the influencer. A typical example of undue influence is someone persuading another individual to change their will to benefit the influencer, which often harms other family members.
Keep in mind that discussing a will with someone with the intent of receiving benefits is not necessarily undue influence. This is true even if the will is subsequently modified for that individual’s benefit, so long as it is done freely and without coercion. On the other hand, undue influence occurs when a person uses manipulation or other tactics to get an individual to act contrary to their own free will. Examples of undue influence include:
Characteristics that may be indicative of undue influence include:
The best way to avoid a legal battle over undue influence on a will or estate is to discuss these plans with family members openly. That way, heirs are aware of an individual’s wishes and will not be surprised later. In addition, it’s essential to communicate your wishes to your attorney explicitly. They can clearly articulate your wishes in your estate plan or will.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create an effective estate plan that will protect your assets should someone try to exert undue influence on you or another family member. This can include implementing legal instruments such as power of attorney. If you suspect there may be disputes about your estate plan, you should mention this to your attorney immediately.
The earlier you act, the better. That way, your plans will be apparent to loved ones from the start, decreasing the chances of someone exerting undue influence to get what they want. Speaking to an estate attorney can help you avoid future disputes.
If you are planning your estate, you should speak with an experienced estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Stephanie Hon at (512) 888-9378 to speak with an estate planning lawyer today. You can schedule a 15-minute initial discussion online to learn more.