If you fear that your elderly, ill or disabled parent in California is developing too much reliance on a caregiver, you may wish to take preventative measures to ensure that your parent does not change the will while under this person’s undue influence. As explained by a state bar association at its recent meeting, undue influence occurs when one individual assumes a power position over another individual and misuses that power to overcome the victim’s free will and substitute his/her own will.
Your parent must “be of sound mind” to make a valid last will and testament. This means the parent must have the following knowledge and capabilities:
Unfortunately, an overly assertive caregiver is the classic example of someone who exerts undue influence over his/her patient so that the patient will leave him/her a substantial bequest when (s)he dies. If you suspect that your parent’s caregiver fits this description, be on the lookout for the following red flags:
If these or other red flags convince you that your parent’s caregiver is unduly influencing him/her, you should attempt to persuade your parent to fire him/her. If the parent refuses to be fire the caregiver, do your best to thwart the caregiver’s attempt to isolate your parent. Also be sure to keep reassuring your parent that you and the rest of the family loves, values and wants the best for him/her. If the situation continues to deteriorate, explore the possibility of intervening.
If you have concerns, call the Law Office of Alice A. Salvo for a free initial consultation.