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Undue Influence

The elderly and ill are especially vulnerable to undue influence. A typical situation is when a caregiver coerces or threatens an individual to update their trust or will to benefit the caregiver. These threats can be spoken and explicit or just implied. The care receiver can experience psychological or even physical abuse as they’re often so dependent on the caregiver.

If you suspect undue influence by a caregiver or another beneficiary, you want an experienced trust and probate litigator on your side. Don’t delay, there are often deadlines- as short as just 120 days. You may have legal options to protect your interests in this challenging time and Daniel Leahy is the attorney who can help you decide what to do next. Dan’s practice includes resolving disputes among beneficiaries and fiduciaries. Often this requires litigation and Dan has the experience and skills to help you. Dan regularly appears in Bay Area probate courts and handles matters through trial.

Contact Daniel Leahy today at (510) 985-4151 or with our contact form to schedule your free consultation. Read more about our legal fee options and the possibility of contingency fees so that you don’t have any upfront costs.

We’ve highlighted a few examples of undue influence below though this is obviously not an exhaustive list.

The most typical situations involve caregivers, step-relatives, or abusive adult children. In each of these cases, the abuser is threatening or coercing the elder to increase their inheritance to the detriment of the other beneficiaries.

Non-family Caregivers:

Whether in-home or at an assisted living facility, caregivers develop close relationships with their elderly patients. Most do the time, there is no financial elder abuse, but some caregivers use their relationship to coerce or threaten the elder to give their assets to them in their will or trust. This is more likely when the elder has less contact with their family and has moved away from their financial support network of advisors and attorneys and has found new professionals who don’t know the history.

Stepparents/ Stepchildren:

The most common situation is a stepparent influencing their spouse to increase her (or his) inheritance or trust assets, leaving children from a former marriage with less than their expected fair share. With long-lasting marriages it is not clear if undue influence was involved or not. Trust your gut and contact Daniel Leahy for a free consultation to help you decide what to do next.

Children can also exert undue influence on their parent leaving the surviving spouse with less than they expected. If you find yourself at odds with the distribution to your stepchildren and suspect undue influence, contact Daniel Leahy for a free consultation.

Adult Children/Siblings:

Adult children, especially those who are caregivers, are sometimes able to exert undue influence over their elderly parent and have them change their will or trust to increase their inheritance to the detriment of their beneficiaries. If you suspect undue influence by an adult child, contact Daniel Leahy for a free consultation.

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