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Principled Advocacy For Families And Individuals With Disabilities And The Professionals Who Serve Them

How can you recognize signs of undue influence?

| Sep 23, 2020 | Estate Planning

Illinois has many laws in place that govern how estate plans look and function. These are there to keep the system running smoothly while disallowing people from taking advantage of it.

Of course, resourceful people will always find a way. It is not uncommon for individuals to attempt altering wills or estate plans to benefit them in any way they can manage.

How does undue influence work?

The American Bar Association discusses undue influence and the impact it may have on your loved one. Undue influence is somewhat hard to define in a legal sense. When it comes to estate plans, it generally means the influence exerted by a third party with the intent of manipulating a victim. The victim in this case is the person to whom the estate plan belongs.

Generally speaking, the goal of manipulation here is to get an estate plan changed to suit the manipulator better. They may want someone unfavorable removed from the estate plan, or they may want someone added to it as a new beneficiary.

The impact of manipulation tactics

Often times, traditional manipulation tactics get utilized by the manipulator. For example, they may isolate your loved one. This forces the victim to rely on them more thoroughly. They also attempt to take control of many aspects of the victim’s life. They may want to manage their schedules, appointments and medication regiments to name a few. On top of that, they may even want to control their finances.

After the victim becomes dependent, they may try to take advantage of any memory weaknesses. They do this to alter the victim’s opinion. In doing so, they coerce and convince the victim to change an estate plan “on their own”. In reality, the changes are still a result of manipulation and thus something you can fight against.