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How to spot undue influence and testator “grooming”

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Losing a loved one is never easy, and when their will does not reflect your understanding of their wishes, it adds a layer of complexity to the grief. Does the will reflect their wishes, or did someone coerce or trick them into making changes?

If you suspect someone victimized your relative by unduly influencing their decisions, do not take the matter lightly. Allowing it to go unchallenged can threaten your loved one’s final wishes.

What does undue influence mean?

The term describes a situation where a person who creates a will is pressured or manipulated into changing its contents. Usually, influencers want the will to favor them instead of logical choices like children and spouses.

How can you identify undue influence?

The most noticeable indicator often involves a loved one making significant changes to their estate documents. Unfortunately, it may be too late by then, as family members often do not know the contents of a loved one’s will until they pass away.

However, there may be warning signs that someone is grooming your loved one for undue influence. Here are a couple of things to look for:

  • Building their emotional dependence: Influencers often isolate targets from loved ones to increase their dependence. They may interfere with visits or deflect phone calls. Sometimes, they cover this by telling the person their family cut off communications.
  • Giving them unusual attention: Often, undue influence is built on what seems like a beneficial foundation. The influencer may spend time with your relative, perhaps showering them with gifts, affection or even financial aid.

Keep a close eye on your vulnerable family members to prevent undue influence. If you believe it already happened to your deceased loved one, probate litigation may make things right. A Florida estate planning representative can help you learn more about your options and rights.


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