When a Minnesota resident is writing out their will or trust, their heirs expect that it is accurate and what the creator would want. Most of the time this is the case, but occasionally there is undue influence in estate planning. Families should learn what undue influence is and how it can appear in their loved one’s estate plan.
Undue influence is the manipulation of a person who is vulnerable or dependent on someone else. It often shows up in that vulnerable adult’s will. There are many ways in which undue influence can show up in someone’s estate plan. One way a family can spot undue influence is if a caretaker benefits greatly from a will. If a caretaker who is taking care of someone at the end of their lives, especially someone with reduced mental capacity, suddenly appears in that person’s will in a large way, that can be a sign that there was undue influence. Another example is if a family member is left out of a will, especially if they would have expected to be included. If the creator did not include his children in the will, that can be suspicious. Also, if an elderly loved one drastically changes their will, it could be a sign of undue influence.
If a family suspects that their loved one suffered from undue influence over their estate plan, they may want to speak with a legal professional who specializes in probate disputes. An attorney has the experience necessary to investigate what happened with the estate plan and if there was any undue influence. They are skilled in Minnesota estate law and can make sure their client gets the answers they deserve and that their loved one’s estate plan is passed to the next generation as originally intended.
Estate disputes can be emotional and complicated. Having an attorney there to sort out the details and get the answers can be beneficial for the entire family.
Source: thinkadvisor.com, “Guarding against charges of undue influence in estate planning,” Tom Nawrocki, Aug. 19, 2015