Avoiding charges of undue influence over a parent’s estate plan

Many adults are caring for elderly parents these days. This may involve the parent living in their home or simply a visit every few days to the parent’s own home to help them out with chores and errands.

Often, parents will ask an adult child with whom they’re close to help them with their estate plan. It can be a tricky thing to provide assistance and guidance to a parent, but not so much that you can find yourself accused of undue influence by siblings or other family members who aren’t as close to your parent — particularly if your parent leaves you more assets than the others.

For a court to find that a person was under undue influence when making his or her estate plan, the person challenging it needs to show that someone exerted a considerable amount of manipulation over the person in drafting or making changes to the plan solely for the purpose of getting assets. They must also show that the senior was able to be manipulated, perhaps due to dementia. Undue influence by someone who had a long-term, loving relationship with a parent or other loved one is difficult to prove.

It may seem challenging for a child to strike a balance between offering advice to a parent and exerting undue influence. Perhaps the best thing you can do to help your parent and avoid any challenges to the estate is to bring in an experienced Louisiana estate planning attorney to work with your parent to help ensure that his or her wishes are fully codified.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that other family members, such as siblings, are informed of the contents of the estate plan and your parent’s reasoning behind the decisions. Your attorney can also help address any questions or concerns that family members may have so that you don’t have a battle after your parent is gone.

Source: Caring.com, “How to Stay Respectful (and Legal) in Parents’ Estate Planning,” Stephanie Ried, accessed Feb. 28, 2018

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