If you have elderly parents, you may already have a good idea about what they want to happen to their assets after they die. Still, both to minimize confusion and to avoid future legal battles, it is a good idea to have your parents write a will.
Because the document has their signatures, you can probably trust your parents’ will to outline their genuine intentions. On the other hand, sometimes unscrupulous individuals manipulate estate planners to become beneficiaries at the expense of other heirs.
Your parents’ wishes
Provided they are of sound mind, your parents have the legal authority to leave their assets to anyone they choose. If someone is trying to manipulate your parents, though, they may not have the ability to detect the deception. Put simply, if your parents’ will changes shortly before their deaths or if it unexpectedly disinherits loved ones, undue influence may be to blame.
While undue influence can happen at any age, older individuals are often more vulnerable to it. If any of the following apply to your parents, they may be at risk of this kind of manipulation:
- They have lost contact with relatives and close friends
- They live in a nursing home
- They have a deteriorating physical or mental health condition
- They have new caregivers or friends in their lives
Your next steps
According to reporting from The Street, about 50% of older Americans do not have a will. Sadly, this leaves their loved ones without instructions for dealing with their assets after death. If your parents have drafted one that does not describe their true wishes, though, you may have additional work to do.
Ultimately, contesting the validity of your parents’ will may be an effective way both to protect their legacy and to stop the undue influencer.