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Undue Influence - Suspicious Circumstances

Suspicious Circumstances

The following is a list of issues that often arise in cases of elder financial exploitation and probate litigation - such as will contests or estate contests.  Each increases the suspicion of undue influence.  This is not a comprehensive list. 


1.  The identified victim's susceptibility or vulnerability to influence (including issues related to age, physical or mental deterioration, emotional state, education, finances, etc. – see "Susceptibility and Vulnerability")
2.  A confidential relationship between the supposed perpetrator and identified victim  
3.  Beneficiary's active involvement or participation in procuring the legal instrument in question (will, trust, etc.)  
4.  Secrecy concerning the existence of the transaction or legal changes, or the events occurring in haste
5.  Lack of independent advice related to that transaction or new legal document
6.  Changes in the identified victim's attitude toward others
7.  Discrepancies between the identified victim's behavior and previously expressed intentions
8.  The unjust or unnatural nature of the terms of the transaction or new legal instrument (new will, new trust, etc.)
9.  Anonymous criticism of other potential beneficiaries made to the identified victim.
10.  Suggestion, without proof, to the identified victim that other potential beneficiaries had attempted to physically harm him or her.

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