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How can you spot undue influence in your loved one’s estate plan?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2023 | Wills and Trusts

If your loved one’s estate plan goes to probate and you notice unusual things, you can bring them up to ensure their true wishes are fulfilled. One of the things to look out for is undue influence, which can give you grounds for contesting the will.

But, how can you tell your loved one was pressured to make changes, and you weren’t present when it happened? Here are three signs of potential undue influence:

1. Unusual behaviors from interested parties

You should be alarmed if one of the beneficiaries becomes closely involved in the plan, and will meet with the testator frequently without other beneficiaries.

Another person to pay attention to is the testator. If your loved one suddenly seems suspicious of or hostile toward formerly beloved family members without any good reason, that’s a signal that someone may be influencing their thoughts for their own motives.

2. Drastic changes in the will

Of course, testators update their wills when circumstances change. However, if you saw the previous will and you notice drastic changes in the most recent one, you should be concerned. Absent a logical explanation that’s apparent, it’s wise to consider undue influence as a possibility – especially if one heir is favored heavily over others.

3. Isolation before their death

When someone aims to take advantage of a vulnerable senior, it’s not uncommon for them to try to isolate the senior from their loved ones. That fosters a sense of dependency and can be used to manipulate or intimidate the senior into compliance with their plans.

If you suspect undue influence played a part in your loved one’s last will, you need to act quickly. Experienced legal guidance can help you decide what steps to take.