Loneliness has reached pandemic proportions among seniors in the U.S. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of older individuals report feeling lonely. Sadly, loneliness correlates to poor health and even early death.
If you have a lonely relative in your family, you might want to protect his or her health by visiting and calling more frequently. You have something else to consider, though. Specifically, your loved one’s loneliness could make him or her vulnerable to undue influence during the estate planning process.
Jumping into friendships too quickly
Because some individuals have nefarious intentions, it is important for anyone not to jump into friendships or intimate relationships too quickly. If your loved one is lonely, though, he or she might be too willing to assign more worth than is appropriate to new friendships. This might put your relative in a position for someone to take advantage of him or her.
Making unreasonable decisions
If an undue influence seemingly is the only person who pays attention to your loved one, your relative might make unreasonable or rash decisions. That is, he or she may leave assets to the undue influencer rather than to his or her close friends and relatives. This might result in your losing out on your expected inheritance.
You want your relative to make well-informed decisions about his or her assets. Ultimately, if your suspect someone might have taken unfair advantage of your loved one’s relatives, it might make sense to contest the estate plan.