What is undue influence?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2021 | Estate Planning

One of the hardest things about watching a loved one age is their slow loss of mental clarity and other faculties. Over time, this can cause a fair amount of problems in your loved one’s life. It can also make them more susceptible to manipulation.

Unfortunately, some people out there waiting for this exact opportunity to swoop in and exert influence over a loved one. This is often the case in a phenomenon called undue influence.

Who is the manipulator?

Cornell Law School discusses undue influence about estate planning. Undue influence involves a minimum of two parties, with one as the perpetrator or manipulator and one as the victim. The victim is often elderly and often lacks the same mental clarity they once had, making them more susceptible to trickery and manipulation.

The manipulator must also hold a position of influence over the victim to begin with. This can include a legal or financial advisor, a caretaker, or even a family member or friend. The manipulator will then subtly exert control over the victim, altering their behavior and decisions in ways that you may not notice initially.

Noticing the red flags

Most people begin to realize something is wrong when their loved one starts to make decisions that seem questionable, not aligned with their personality or beliefs, or outright strange for them. You may also notice that the manipulator has gone out of their way to isolate their victim, making it hard to keep in touch. At this point, you may want to begin collecting other pieces of evidence to take with you when you seek legal help.