Protecting Loved Ones From Undue Influence
As people age, they can become more susceptible to undue influence from others. Unfortunately, there are people who take advantage of the elderly and use manipulation or coercive tactics to get what they want. Knowing how to spot the signs of undue influence and taking preventative measures is essential if you want to protect your loved ones from falling victim to this type of abuse.
1. What is Undue Influence
“Undue influence” has a legal meaning with specific elements that must be proven when undue influence is claimed. State laws determine those elements, and they can vary from one state to another. In Nevada, for example, “undue” is the key word. Having influence alone is not enough. Undue influence happens when the victim’s free will is “destroyed” by the influence. The influence has to prevent the victim from making their own decisions.
To have this kind of influence, a person usually has or develops a special relationship with the victim. The influencer then uses emotional ties or other powers to manipulate the victim into making decisions that otherwise would not have been made. Most often, the influencer will be a family member or close friend who benefits from using the influence, but it could also be a care giver, a professional advisor, a business partner, or even someone who the victim just met recently.
2. Signs of Undue Influence
There are a few tell-tale signs that someone may be subjecting your loved one to undue influence. If you notice that their behavior has changed suddenly or inexplicably, it could be an indication that something is amiss. Other warning signs include difficulty making decisions, isolation from family and friends, changes in spending habits, or an increase in reliance on another individual for decision-making.
3. Preventative Measures
The best way to protect your loved one from undue influence is by being proactive and having open conversations with them about any unusual behavior you might have noticed. It’s also important to stay engaged in their lives; visit often and talk regularly so that they know they have a constant source of support should they ever need it. Additionally, encourage them to always make decisions independently and never rely on another person’s opinion when making financial transactions or other important decisions.
When a senior loved one is planning or changing an estate, they may be vulnerable to undue influence. An experienced lawyer can provide assurance that any changes are in the best interest of your family and protect them from making hasty decisions due to outside pressure. Additionally, we offer comprehensive legal solutions such as revocable living trusts and power of attorney documents for you or another rightful representative to act on behalf of their wishes without involving a court appearance.
It’s heartbreaking when someone takes advantage of our elderly family members or friends. Thankfully, there are steps we can take to protect our loved ones from undue influence—all it takes is a little bit of awareness and effort on our part! By learning how to spot the signs early on and taking preventative measures, we can help keep our elderly loved ones safe from those who would seek to manipulate them for their own gain.
This article is a service of The Gordillo Law Firm and Gregory Gordillo, Personal Family Lawyer®. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.