One common reason why you or a family member in California may dispute the legitimacy of a loved one’s last will and testament is undue influence. It is common practice for people to update their wills periodically throughout their lives. But when a loved one’s estate plans contain radical changes from previous versions, you may start to suspect that their caregiver or a family member used some type of manipulation to gain from their estate. 

Seniors who are sick and incapacitated are more vulnerable to undue influence. It is a form of abuse that can be physical, sexual and emotional. The person who exerts the influence abuses the testator so they can profit from their estate when they die. An example of undue influence is when the manipulator making false promises to get the testator to make changes to their wills that go against their intent and wishes, states ThinkAdvisor. The influencer may keep the testator from seeing and communicating with their family, friends and loved ones. 

Here are some signs that may indicate that your loved one is a victim of undue influence and how to prove it. 

  •        Communication becomes less frequent
  •        Unusual financial transactions
  •        Testator shows signs of erratic behavior
  •        Actions and transactions that reflect poor judgment
  •        The inclusion of nonrelatives to estate plans
  •        Fraudulent transfer of assets 

If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of undue influence, you should consider petitioning probate court for conservatorship and guardianship. By becoming your loved one’s legal guardian and financial manager you can keep the manipulator from having access to your relative so they cannot continue to influence them.