If you have an elderly relative, it may be time to check in with him or her. After all, according to the National Council on Aging, roughly 17% of individuals over the age of 65 are experiencing a sense of isolation. Alarmingly, feelings of isolation can increase a senior’s chance of dying by roughly 45%.
While your loved one’s health is paramount, you have another concern to worry about when it comes to his or her isolation. Specifically, your relative may have a heightened risk of undue influence. If he or she is drafting or updating an estate plan, your loved one may make missteps because of undue influence.
What is undue influence?
Generally, seniors should have full control over their estate plans. This is because individuals should be able to have a say in what happens to their assets. They should also have input in end-of-life care and medical treatments.
Undue influence runs counter to the notion of control. With undue influence, someone exerts pressure on your loved one, causing him or her to make decisions that do not align with his or her genuine intentions.
Why is isolation a risk factor?
If your relative is experiencing isolation, he or she may be looking for friends or even romantic partners. Unfortunately, these individuals may try to take advantage of your loved one’s loneliness. This is especially true if your relative does not have anyone to bring the undue influence to his or her attention.
Ultimately, if your relative seems to have few close family members and friends, it may be advisable to scrutinize his or her estate plan to be certain it says what he or she truly wants it to say.