Older people often need help with day-to-day activities, especially when their mental sharpness begins to decline. As a result, Texas family members, friends or hired help may be needed to ensure that those daily needs are met. However, some unscrupulous people may subject a vulnerable person to undue influence, and if this wrongdoing results in an undeserving person obtaining a portion of a deceased individual’s estate, probate litigation could result.
Unfortunately, many people can become victims of undue influence, especially young people and the elderly. Often, individuals’ brains come up with reasons to help them understand difficult situations. As a result, people are often ready to see an action or event as they expect it to be, even if that is not how it truly is. In cases of undue influence of an elderly person, the individual may expect a caretaker to have his or her best interests at heart and may not question actions that are actually harmful to the person or the estate.
Individuals who utilize undue influence are often considered predatory and want to gain something or hurt others. They often use charm and gain trust in efforts to more easily manipulate a vulnerable person. They commonly also use false pretenses, so, for example, a person may act as a caring individual who wants to ensure the well-being of the elderly party only to influence that person to change his or her will.
Though this may seem like a lot of work in efforts to obtain a portion of a person’s estate, undue influence is not uncommon. Additionally, it is not unusual for the problem to go unnoticed until after the testator’s death, which is when terms of many estate planning documents typically come to light. As a result, Texas families may find themselves shocked to learn of the unexpected details in their loved ones’ wills. If this happens, concerned parties may want to explore their legal options and look into probate litigation as a means to fight against undue influence.