When someone makes an estate plan or writes a will, they can essentially choose anyone that they want to add to that will. It is true that most people choose beneficiaries who are friends, family members, or perhaps even charities or religious institutions. But there is no stipulation saying that you have to choose specific people, and the individual could technically choose anyone that they want.
If you have an elderly loved one who is receiving care from an in-home caregiver or living in a nursing home, they may become quite close to their caregivers. These are people who help them every single day, and friendships and bonds are going to form. As a result, your loved one may say that they would like to give that individual a spot in their will.
Why is this a red flag?
This may be fine, but it can also be a red flag that financial abuse is taking place. Any time that a caregiver receives assets for someone they’re caring for, you have to ask yourself whether or not some sort of manipulation is taking place.
For instance, maybe the caregiver at the nursing home refused to provide adequate assistance unless they were added to the will. Or maybe they simply got close to your loved one on purpose, hoping to manipulate them and use undue influence to alter their will. The fact that your elderly loved one had the idea to adjust the will doesn’t necessarily prove that it’s an act of fraud, but it certainly should raise those red flags.
If you do believe that your loved one is being financially abused or manipulated, be sure you know what legal steps you can take.