Your elderly, widowed mother seems to be smitten with a younger man she met at her senior center. He is a yoga instructor there and she has joined his class.
He takes her to lunch and they talk about what she calls “important things.” You are somewhat alarmed. Could this man be exercising undue influence over your mom?
About undue influence
Perhaps your mother has been alone for several years since your father died, and perhaps she has reached a stage where companionship is important to her. For all his flattering attention, the yoga instructor may be trying to influence your mother and convince her to give him money or change her will in order to make him a beneficiary. Obtaining money and property are two of the most common goals of someone who is exercising undue influence over another person. Often the target is a vulnerable senior citizen. The influencer uses a position of power or trust to persuade the victim to take a course of action that is not in his or her best interests but that will benefit the influencer.
What to do
Invite yourself to lunch with your mom and the mystery man to get a better idea of their relationship. Do not be afraid to ask questions and bring up your concerns. If his attentions are truly based on friendship with no ulterior motives, he will not mind giving you answers. Resolve to spend more time with your mother and ask your siblings or other close relatives to do the same. Become more involved with your mother’s finances and ask if you can have access to her bank account online so you can help her with day-to-day finances and, at the same time, monitor the flow of funds. You may want to have a discussion about powers of attorney and other estate planning documents to ensure that she has not given her new "friend" any legal rights to her money and property.