Discovering surprise inclusions in an estate plan can be frustrating or even emotionally devastating. If your parents always promised to leave the family home to you and your siblings, only for them to have changed their estate plan in their last days to leave the home to someone else, like their new spouse, you may feel frustrated or even betrayed.
Before you presume that your loved one betrayed their promises to you, you may need to consider whether undue influence played a role in their final estate plan. If you think it may have, you might need to consider challenging the estate in probate court.
Did your loved one make changes in their last years of life?
One of the big red flags for undue influence in an estate plan involves late in life changes that drastically alter the intention of an estate plan. If your loved one always had certain intentions that they were clear about, and they have contradicted those desires in the last will they left behind, that could be a sign that someone else influenced their decisions.
Is the primary beneficiary someone with close access to your loved one?
Undue influence often involves one person slowly convincing a testator to alter their estate plan or last will by constantly nagging them and trying to change their mind. It could also involve someone in a position of authority,
An adult child living with a parent as a caregiver or a younger spouse from a late-in-life remarriage could try to their position into a source of financial gain. If you have records that your loved one explicitly had different intentions about their estate for most of their life or if they altered their estate plan to benefit someone who has control over their health care or daily life, that could be a sign that undue influence is the real culprit in an undesirable estate plan.
If you suspect that undue influence was involved in an estate, act quickly. Your time to remedy the situation may be very short.