Creating an estate plan is arguably the most effective way to maintain some control over what happens to wealth after death. If your mother has an estate plan, you should be able to trust it to reflect her genuine wishes. Regrettably, for a few reasons, that may not be the case.
Undue influence, where someone supplants his or her wishes over the author’s goals, is a common reason to contest a comprehensive estate plan. Here are three signs your mother may be vulnerable to undue influence.
1. She has an unscrupulous caregiver
As your mother ages, she may require assistance with everyday activities, like cooking or bathing. If your mother has an unscrupulous caregiver, the caregiver may manipulate your mom into giving him or her assets.
2. She does not have robust social support
Isolation often leads to undue influence, as victims do not have friends and relatives who can intervene. If your mother has lost her social support system, you may want to scrutinize any changes she makes to her estate plan.
3. She has substantial wealth
Those who seek to take advantage of others may not waste their time on victims who do not have much to take. If your mom has substantial wealth, though, she may be an enticing target for someone who wants a windfall after her death.
While there are certainly ways to address undue influence after a person dies, you are considerably better off intervening when your mother is still alive. Ultimately, if your mom’s estate plan runs counter to her or your interests, you may need to investigate whether someone’s undue influence is to blame.