Understanding undue influence in estate planning

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning involves making decisions about what happens to your assets, like money, property and belongings, when you are no longer here. It is an opportunity to consider how you want your possessions distributed among your loved ones, and you should draft your plan without the interference of others.

Before creating your estate plan, be sure you understand and avoid undue influence.

What is undue influence?

Undue influence occurs when someone uses pressure or deceptive tactics to manipulate another person into changing their plans regarding the distribution of their assets in their will or other important documents. It is akin to someone trying to coerce you into doing something against your will using tricky or forceful means.

Preventing undue influence

There are some key steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of undue influence when drafting your estate plan.

  1. Clearly express your plans: When outlining your plans, lay them out in a straightforward manner. Write in a way that is easily understandable for everyone involved.
  2. Choose reliable witnesses: When signing important documents, surround yourself with trustworthy witnesses. These individuals can vouch for the fact that you are making decisions freely, without any pressure from others.
  3. Open communication: Share your plans and thoughts with people you trust. When everyone is aware of your intentions, it becomes more challenging for someone to manipulate things without considering your true wishes.
  4. Be mindful of pressure: If someone is making you uncomfortable or pushing you to alter your plans, take a step back. It is perfectly acceptable to decline and take the time you need to make decisions.

By being vigilant, you can help prevent undue influence and guarantee a fair distribution of your belongings among your loved ones.


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