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How can undue influence lead to elder financial abuse?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2023 | Estate Administration, Probate Litigation |

The death of a loved one can be overwhelming but imagine finding out that they have given or transferred a sizable portion of their estate to an unexpected individual or entity. You review their will repeatedly, trying to find errors, only to realize the execution meets all the legal requirements. However, it still does not make sense. You know your loved one would not have done this willingly and of their own accord.

The beneficiary who stands to inherit most of the estate may have unduly influenced your loved one to obtain their funds, assets or property. It is financial abuse because it is the exploitation of another to rob them of their finances and free will.

Understanding financial abuse of the elderly

Financial abuse happens when a person in a position of trust or has a business relationship with an elderly individual uses their position for their own personal interest. They may have intentionally exploited your elderly loved one to transfer estate assets to them while your loved one was still alive.

On top of that, they may also have manipulated your loved one’s estate planning documents for their benefit. A person could exert undue influence to include themselves as a beneficiary or increase their share of the estate. They can even remove other beneficiaries. Their undue influence over your loved one gives you enough reason to contest a will.

Proving undue influence

Contesting a will on the grounds of undue influence is challenging. You would have to objectively and factually prove that undue influence was present, and it affected the distribution of the estate. Under Florida laws, once a person can prove that any portion of a will is a product of undue influence, the entire document is invalid.

You only have 90 days upon receiving the Notice of Administration to contest the will. If you believe someone took advantage of your loved one, you can make things right before it is too late.