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Why would a primary caregiver use undue influence?

Undue influence is a form of manipulation. An elderly person wants to write their estate plan in a certain way. Someone else uses undue influence to get them to change that plan. This is similar to drafting a fraudulent document, but the difference is that the elderly person does actually make the changes – they just don’t make them of their own free will.

In many cases, the person suspected of using undue influence is the primary caregiver. For instance, an elderly person may have three adult children. Two of them live in other states, but the youngest still lives near home. This person acts as a caregiver, assisting with daily needs and visiting their parent more often than the other siblings can.

Do they believe it’s fair?

One reason why the primary caregiver may be suspected of undue influence is simply that they have a position of power. Because they are offering care and assistance, they could theoretically use that position to manipulate their parent. They could threaten to withhold care, for instance, or they could begin spreading lies and misinformation about their siblings.

In some cases, though, the caregiver just believes that the changes are fair. They recognize that they are putting in more time and effort to take care of their parent. They may suggest to the parent that they would like some additional compensation for taking on this role. They may think this is fair, and the parent may also believe it to be fair. But the siblings in other states may think that it is an example of undue influence.

You can see how this could lead to a complicated dispute. Be sure you know what legal steps to take.