In the twilight years of your loved ones, estate planning helps ensure a seamless transition of their assets. However, this process can become a breeding ground for undue influence.
Recognizing the signs and understanding the dynamics at play during estate planning is important to shield seniors from potential manipulation.
Undue influence refers to the subtle coercion or manipulation exerted on an individual to sway their decision-making in favor of the influencer’s interests.
This can manifest in various forms, such as isolating the elderly from their support network or exploiting vulnerabilities coming from their diminished mental capacity. Undue influence often operates in the shadows, camouflaged as well-intentioned advice.
Personal dynamics play an important role in the estate planning process. While it is natural for seniors to rely on trusted individuals, it becomes important to discern genuine guidance from manipulative intent. A sudden shift in decision-making power or exclusion of other people from the process could be indicative of undue influence.
Financial aspects of estate planning provide fertile ground for potential exploitation. Seniors may face coercion to make decisions related to their estate that serve the interests of the influencer rather than their own. This can include alterations to beneficiaries, bequests or even the establishment of trusts.
With Americans who were 65 or older making up 16.8% of the population as of 2020, estate planning is only becoming more relevant to a large part of society. Instead of a source of stress and manipulation, estate planning should be a beacon of security for older loved ones and a process guided by their wishes and intentions.