Seniors often unsuspectingly fall prey to fraud. Their fraudsters can take on many different shapes and forms, from overseas scammers who prey on their fears to those nearest and dearest to them who pretend to have their best interests at heart.
This commonly occurs through undue influence or testamentary capacity issues that may be at play when an older person drafts their will.
How financial abuse can lead to questions about an estate
When information becomes available after someone’s death that indicates they were being financially manipulated by another party, it can draw into question whether they were actually of “sound mind” when they drafted their will — especially if the will seems to favor their financial abuser.
Undue influence is textbook financial abuse
Any instance in which an individual subjects someone to coercion, abuse or some other type of ill-treatment to get them to draft their will a certain way may be guilty of undue influence.
A telltale sign this may have occurred is when a testator bequeaths a significant portion of their estate to a particular individual right before their passing. All too frequently, this may be a close relative, a nurse, a home health aide, a neighbor or a “friend.”
Minimizing the chances of financial abuse later in life
You can take steps as you grow older to protect your financial assets from others with poor intentions. This may involve drafting a power of attorney, funding a trust or establishing a conservatorship. An estate planning attorney who understands the ins and outs of elder abuse who aid you in doing this.