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Elder law: Protecting seniors from undue influence

| Apr 9, 2021 | Elder Law |

As your loved one grows older, you may start worrying about how you can protect them from the dangers of aging. Seniors are more susceptible to the machinations of others, especially those they rely on for support. They have a higher risk of suffering from undue influence. It is a common source of estate disputes amongst families. However, it is not always easy to identify or prove, especially in estate disputes that involve coercion, extortion, physical or emotional abuse.  

Thoroughly vet all support resources and parties 

Living in nursing homes, retirement communities, needing specialized care from a health care or nursing professional and other circumstances often contribute to the elevated risk of exploitation. Relying on others for cognitive or physical care also elevates the danger. Any issue that increases your loved one’s dependency on another can make them a victim of undue influence. Carefully screen all resources with your loved one before using them. Take an active role in managing and protecting their affairs and independence.

Recognize who plans to benefit from your loved one’s incapacitation/death 

Victims of exploitation or undue influence often suffer from isolation. The fewer people your relative keeps in regular contact with, the easier it is for miscreants to control them. Less communication and fewer social interactions can make it more difficult for you to prevent issues that may compromise your elder relative’s mental, physical and financial interests. Talk to and visit with your elder relative often to watch for signs of harm or undue influence.