In probate law, “undue influence” is the most common ground for will contests. Undue influence is defined as influence by which a person is induced to act otherwise than by their own free will or without adequate attention to the consequences. Furthermore, “undue influence” is only an issue when the advisor is directly benefiting from the will. If the advisor is getting a benefit from someone else then it is considered fraud. Three classes of variables can contribute to Undue Influence which are predisposing factors, vulnerability enhancers , and execution variables. This blog post is only focusing on predisposing factors in Michigan.
Predisposing factors are certain characteristics that make an individual susceptible to being manipulated.
Some predisposing factors are:
Diminished Mental Capacity
A diminished mental capacity can occur when mental functions deteriorate in effectiveness. Someone who is having trouble recalling information must depend on someone else’s memory. This puts the person with a diminished mental capacity at risk for being exploited.
During depression people experience intense negative feelings and poor mental functioning. This includes having problems with concentration, attention, memory, and other cognitive functions. The other symptoms of depression such as lack of energy, social withdrawal, sleep disturbance , and apathy make the depressed people more susceptible to abandon things that require significant thought or effort.
People depend on other people for a variety of reasons. People can depend on others for the following reasons including physical assistance, psychological needs, emotional attachment, mental stimulation and social connectivity.
Other predisposing factors are death of a spouse , social attention, undetected pathology , isolation and anxiousness. Do you believe your love one was a victim of predisposing factors that lead to undue influence? Contact Colton Probate Law today to request an appointment.