Elder Abuse in Estate Planning


There is a story of an heiress, a millionaire many times over, but living alone in a hospital room and issues of elder abuse, fraud and questions regarding estate planning and wills come to mind.  Questions are being asked about the influence of and possible abuse by the heiress’ financial and legal advisors.  In California, undue influence is defined as “the use, by one in whom a confidence is reposed by another, or who holds a real or apparent authority over him, of such confidence or authority for the purpose of obtaining an unfair advantage over her.”  Those who are quite elderly or are in poor health can be targets for such influence.  One red flag to look for is when a natural beneficiary is passed over in favor of one with less right to inherit.  An example would be a surviving spouse who is disinherited in favor of a caregiver.