The creation of a trust is a common and a very popular choice among people who are looking for greater levels of privacy and control over their assets. However, other family members or friends who might have pushed a loved one to create a trust could create questions for you about undue influence.
This is particularly true if you have an elderly loved one who has a revocable living trust that can be easily amended and a party with undue influence might recommend that this elderly loved one go to a lawyer to update the original trust from terms that are more favorable to you or other people benefiting from the estate. The new trust, for example, might direct all of the assets to go to the person who exercised undue influence. This is especially problematic if your loved one had issues associated with dementia or other cognitive decline.
This can lead to changes in the person’s personality; meaning they are more likely to consider advice from other people and to update their estate planning documents accordingly. You can usually challenge a new estate plan if you believe that undue influence has altered the terms. The question becomes whether it is easier to do it at the present time while you are aware of the changes or after the loved one passes away. If you intend to update the trust or other estate planning documents based on undue influence today, this could be very expensive to pursue this route by getting conservatorship over the party who updated their documents.
This, however, could help to preserve the evidence of decreased cognitive ability and another person’s influence over that party. Schedule a consultation today with an experienced and dedicated estate planning lawyer to learn more about creating power of attorney documents and what to do if you believe a loved one has been the victim of an undue influence. Our Virginia Beach estate planning office is still here for you- reach out for a phone call meeting today.