Having adult children actively involved with their mother or father, when the other spouse has passed is a blessing. However, sometimes too much of their influence can create unwanted and burdensome legal problems, especially if a parent is having diminished mental capacity. In an article from Caring.com, “How to Stay Respectful (and Legal) In Parents’ Estate Planning,” adult children are advised to consider that there is such a thing as too much influence, referred to as “undue influence” and every state has some kind of undue influence law that addresses this problem.
To prove that someone has exerted undue influence, a checklist is used and all the items on the checklist must be proven by the party asserting this has occurred. Undue influence is considered to have happened when:
Notice that undue influence is far more than having more than one conversation with Uncle Ben about his wishes. Its focus is on manipulation—large amounts of it. It happens mostly in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, where someone will build trust with a senior person who is in a vulnerable state. An adult child would normally have this trust, especially if they are the key caretaker. Over time, the elderly parent becomes dependent on one child or one caretaker for daily care and then they become vulnerable to being manipulated.
Undue influence generally involves changes to the estate plan—sometimes many changes or sweeping changes in a short period of time. Other family members are often suddenly disinherited or a large cash transfer to the person takes place, with no prior discussion with other family members.
Speak with an elder law attorney if you are concerned that you (or a loved one) are being pressured to change your estate plan (or you see evidence of large amounts of money being transferred out of your loved one’s accounts). Elder financial abuse is often the result of undue influence and an experienced elder law attorney and the proper authorities will be able to help.
Reference: Caring.com (May 24, 2018) “How to Stay Respectful (and Legal) In Parents’ Estate Planning”
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.
Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!
I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!