Creating a comprehensive estate plan is one of the more effective ways to maintain control over what happens to a person’s assets after he or she dies. Nowadays, though, many estate plans also deal with end-of-life matters, such as critical care decision-making, funeral planning and even organ donation.
If your aging parents have written an estate plan, you should be able to trust its contents to match their genuine intentions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though, almost 34% of seniors are currently experiencing extreme loneliness. Sadly, social isolation may make your elderly parents vulnerable to undue influence.
Understanding undue influence
Undue influence is a concern in any estate plan. This happens when a person convinces another person to change his or her estate plan for unscrupulous reasons. For example, an individual may befriend your parents and then convince them to give him or her valuable assets
Naturally, undue influence can be problematic for both you and your parents. Indeed, it can cause you to lose your expected inheritance while forever damaging your parents’ legacy. Both of these should make you feel uneasy.
Protecting your parents
Anything you can do to lessen your parents’ loneliness is likely to be beneficial. After all, if your parents are not experiencing social isolation, they may be able to identify and resist an undue influencer. While simply calling and visiting regularly may make a noticeable difference, you may want to encourage your parents to join social groups and participate in regular activities.
If your parents alter their estate plan when they are feeling lonely, you may want to review it to ensure someone has not interfered with it. Ultimately, though, if your parents fall victim to undue influence, you may still have an opportunity to protect their legacy by contesting the estate plan after their deaths.