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What Is “Undue Influence” As It Relates To Estate Planning?

Undue influence occurs when someone has such a significant influence over the testator or trust maker that the resulting testament or trust reflects the influential person’s wishes and does not cause the testamentary trust to reflect the actual desires of the testator. This sometimes happens when one gets elderly or weaker due to health issues and depends on someone else to provide care and support. The testator who is in the weakened condition is sometimes afraid that if they do not create their will or trust in a fashion to make the influencer happy, that they will be subject to abuse, neglect, or even forced into an unpleasant living situation without the care and support that they desperately need.

This undue influence can cause the testator to leave their estate to outsiders who would not reasonably be expected to inherit. Upon the passing of the testator and with the resulting trust or will, there can be lengthy and expensive litigation to overturn the will or trust that resulted from the undue influence. These are not cases to be taken lightly, but often, the family is required to either walk away from everything their parents have saved or engage in an unwelcome fight. We hope you are never in this situation, but if you are, we would be happy to talk to you, and we would help.

My Family Member Is In A Situation Where Life Support Measures May Be Needed Or Used To Extend Their Life, But There Is No Advanced Directive Or Medical Power Of Attorney In Place. Who Decides What Care Will Be Administered?

The full answer to every situation is well beyond the scope of what we can cover in a short essay of this nature, but I can give you some ideas.

First, you can expect that the healthcare workers are likely going to use their best judgment and give their best efforts to extend the life of someone whose wishes are not known or are not done in a legally enforceable manner. I’m afraid that some of this action can sometimes happen because the medical providers see the loss of life as they have failed somehow. Even though they and we recognize that death will happen to us all, it’s undoubtedly difficult to watch your patient slip away.

The person who is close to the patient, who has their interest at heart, has the right to seek legal guardianship and get a court order granting them the right to make medical decisions for their loved ones. This is not necessarily cheap or easy, and it can be emotionally draining. I hope you never find yourself in this situation, and I hope you never leave your family in this situation when it comes to your healthcare. But, if this situation occurs around you and you need guidance through guardianship, I hope you will call our office. You can be sure that we’ll do our best to give you the best assistance possible.

Who Makes My Financial Decisions If I Don’t Have A Power Of Attorney In Oklahoma?

Likely, someone will be forced to seek legal guardianship and be granted authority by a judge to make your decisions. This legal procedure can be somewhat expensive and sometimes causes hard feelings and fights among the family. Therefore, it is far better if you have chosen in advance what power you want to give and that you execute a power of attorney that grants those powers. You should probably also give serious consideration to nominating a person who will serve as your guardian if you are ever in need of a guardian. It seems unfortunate to me but true that the first person to rush down to the courthouse to ask to become a guardian is, quite often, the last person that should be doing it.

For more information on Undue Influence In Estate Planning Matters, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 754-4166 today.

Terrell Monks, Esq. - Estate Planning Attorney, Edmond City

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