If you care for a California resident, you undoubtedly take your job seriously, whether your patient is a family member or someone you were hired to care for. Not surprisingly, many patients develop a close relationship with their caregiver and wish to leave them “a little something” in their will. If your patient indicates that they are thinking of doing this, however, be aware that someone may challenge the will if that “little something” turns out to be a major bequest.
As a state bar association recently pointed out, undue influence is a favorite ground when someone challenges a will. It means that the challenger alleges that you imposed your will on your patient and consequently the patient left you a large bequest.
Undue influence red flags
If someone challenges your patient’s will on the grounds of undue influence, they will likely allege that you did one or more of the following during your patient’s lifetime:
Keep in mind that even if you do some of these things for your patient, that does not mean that you are unduly influencing him or her. It could well mean that you are striving to make your patient’s life as comfortable and happy as possible. Nevertheless, should your patient leave you a large bequest, be prepared for a disgruntled family member to make a will challenge, especially if the family member failed to receive the bequest the family member believes they were entitled receive. But while you no doubt will find such undue influence allegations hurtful and uncalled for, also keep in mind that the person making them must prove his or her allegations in order to prevail in the will challenge.