What is undue influence?

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2021 | Probate And Estate Administration |

As a person ages, they generally grow more vulnerable as well. Mental faculties begin to weaken alongside physical stature, resulting in a person who looks like the prime target for manipulators.

This is often what happens in cases that involve undue influence. It is also why you need to be the one to act up and speak out if you believe this is happening to one of your older relatives or loved ones.

Two parties in undue influence cases

Cornell Law School examines instances involving undue influence. Undue influence, by definition, involves at least two parties. One party is the victim, and they will end up led into making decisions they would have not made on their own by the other, manipulating party.

By definition, the manipulating party also needs to hold some sort of tie or position in relation to the victim that would give their word extra power over the victim. For example, a caretaker or a relative would automatically have more sway over the victim due to their close proximity and direct dealings with their target.

Why do perpetrators do it?

In the case of estate planning, a manipulator will often exert their influence in an attempt to get the victim to change parts of the estate plan they do not like. This can include excluding siblings or other relatives that the perpetrator does not like, or gaining a bigger portion of the assets that the victim will leave behind.

In most cases, the victim is not aware that they have fallen into a manipulator’s trap. It is thus up to outside parties to identify what is happening and provide evidence to back up their claims.