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Avoid undue influence claims when creating your estate plan

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Estate Planning

When you are planning your estate, it is important to make sure your decisions are free from any doubts of undue influence. Undue influence occurs when someone exerts pressure on you, affecting your ability to make independent decisions about your estate.

There are some key guidelines you should follow to safeguard your wishes and avoid potential legal challenges.

Diverse input and openness

Ensure that your estate plan reflects a variety of perspectives. Involve trusted friends, family members or advisors who can offer different insights. This diverse input can demonstrate that your decisions are well-considered and not unduly influenced by a single party.

Being open about your estate planning decisions is another way to prevent misunderstandings. Clearly communicate your intentions and reasoning to your loved ones. This transparency leaves less room for speculation and helps establish the authenticity of your choices.

Good timing

Avoid making significant changes to your estate plan during times of vulnerability, such as when facing health issues or emotional distress. If possible, plan your estate when you are in good health and can make decisions with a clear mind. This reduces the risk of claims suggesting that external factors influenced your decisions.

Professional guidance and documentation

Seeking advice from financial planners or other professionals adds credibility to your estate plan. Expert opinions can reinforce the idea that your decisions are sound and not based on external pressure.

Also, be sure to keep meticulous records of your estate planning process. This can include notes from discussions, drafts of documents and any changes made along the way. Having a well-documented trail helps prove the authenticity of your decisions and deter claims of undue influence.

Taking these steps helps ensure the distribution of your estate per your intentions, free from claims of undue influence.