The laws of intestacy dictate much of how estate plans function in New York State. They cover how to properly create an estate plan and how they should be implemented upon a person’s death. In most cases, working with a deceased loved one’s estate plan is a relatively straightforward endeavor.

But sometimes, the interference of a third party can turn this into a nightmare scenario through undue influence.

Why do manipulators target estate plans?

The American Bar Association looks at some of the potential red flags that may indicate your loved one is a victim of undue influence. What is undue influence, exactly? It is the result of a coercive, manipulative person exerting their tactics on a victim with the intent of getting the estate plan or will altered. Thus, your first red flag is any sudden, surprising change to any official document handling assets. Did a beneficiary end up removed? Did a surprising new one get added? This may be a warning sign.

Common manipulation tactics

Next, keep an eye open for other tactics classic to manipulators. For example, they may try to exert control over many areas of your loved one’s life. They may want to manage their schedule, make their appointments, mete out their medication. They may even want to handle all of their financial matters. This makes the victim dependent on them to do almost anything.

The next step is to take away their other support systems. The manipulator often does this through isolation. They often lie to the victim’s loved ones and family members, stating the victim is too sick or busy to receive guests. Meanwhile, they lie to the victim and state that no one has come to visit. It is an insidious tactic.