Having a comprehensive estate plan is arguably the most effective way to maintain control over what happens to a person’s assets after death. Still, because procrastination is easy when it comes to estate planning, most Americans do not have even a simple will.
If your parents have not planned their estate, you may want to encourage them to do so. This is especially true if your father and mother are nearing the end of their lives. Still, you do not want an unscrupulous person to take advantage of your parents. Here are three ways to keep undue influence out of their estate plan.
1. Maintain contact
Isolation is a common reason for undue influence, as isolated individuals may befriend a caregiver or someone else. While there is nothing inherently wrong with leaving assets to a new acquaintance, undue influence may rob you of your inheritance.
By simply maintaining contact with your parents, you remind them of your good relationship. You also may identify an undue influencer before he or she messes with your parent’s estate plan.
2. Have frequent conversations
It can be uncomfortable to talk about estate planning with older parents, particularly if you do not want to seem greedy. Nevertheless, you may want to think about having frequent conversations with your mom and dad. During these conversations, ask open-ended questions about their wishes, including whether they are thinking about adding a beneficiary to their estate plan.
3. Offer assistance
Your parents may have difficulty driving to appointments with their attorney. By offering to drive them, you have an opportunity to talk about modifications to their estate plan. You may also notice immediately if your parents do something that is detrimental to them and beneficial to an undue influencer.
While you may not be able to prevent undue influence completely, you can be a good son or daughter. Ultimately, by stopping undue influence when your parents are still alive, you are likely to limit your legal and financial headaches after their deaths.