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What is undue influence in estate planning? 

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2022 | Estate Planning

You’re setting up your estate plan, and you want to make sure that things go smoothly and there are no disputes between your children. Maybe you’ve heard stories of families caught in these disputes, and they end up never speaking again or having a long-term falling out.

Additionally, you know that one reason for these disputes is when someone claims there was undue influence. What does this mean and what can you do to avoid it?

Influencing your decisions

Essentially, your estate plan needs to be something that you make in accordance with your own wishes and desires. If someone else influences those decisions, and if they gain from this influence, then it becomes a problem.

For example, this sometimes happens when one child still lives near their parents and other siblings do not. If the child who still lives close to the parents gets substantially more money in the will, the other children may claim that they used undue influence to manipulate their parents. Manipulation could include things like lying about other siblings or refusing to give parents necessary assistance without financial compensation. 

How can you avoid it?

One of the best ways to avoid these types of claims is simply to include your entire family in the estate planning process. Talk to them as you make your decisions and explain the choices that you’re making at the time. Let them ask questions and give you feedback. A transparent process like this leaves no room for undue influence.

Whether you’re creating an estate plan or trying to navigate the probate process, your family’s future could be severely impacted by what occurs. Always make sure you understand your legal options and what steps to take.