Proving Undue Influence In Florida
Many people think that they are doing a good thing when they invest a great deal of money in hiring a caretaker for their parent or an elderly loved one. Doing so can allow the individual to remain in their home, maintain some autonomy, and avoid a nursing home. However, when it comes to elderly and vulnerable adults, there is always risk when it comes to giving another person access to and control over their lives. So what happens when their caretaker takes advantage of them? In some cases, an undue influence claim may arise. This happens when an individual who has a confidential relationship with your parent or loved one takes advantage of it by compelling them to make gifts or change their will to the benefit of the hired caretaker. Anyone who has experienced this knows how infuriating it can be to learn that the person you paid to take care of your loved one has turned them against you or depleted their assets. Luckily, there are steps you can take to make things right.
Asserting Undue Influence Claims in Florida
In order to assert an undue influence claim in Florida, you must be an “interested party.” In order to be an interested party, you must either be someone named in the testamentary documents or someone who would have stood to inherit, such as the decedent’s spouse or child. If you have standing to bring an undue influence claim, an estate lawyer can help you to litigate the matter in probate court by challenging the validity of the will based on undue influence.
Elements of an Undue Influence Claim
In order to succeed in bringing an undue influence claim, there are certain elements or indicia under Florida law that must be established. You must be able to show that the person accused had a confidential relationship with the decedent, such as by being their caretaker. Family members may also have a confidential relationship with the decedent. You will also have to demonstrate that the person with the confidential relationship played an active role in the procurement of the will, such as by contacting the lawyer or driving them to the appointment. Once you have established these elements, the burden of proof will shift to the accused individual disprove their presumed undue influence. This means that the caretaker or accused party will then be responsible for proving that they did not play an active role in the procurement of the will or overpower the decedent’s personal autonomy. The most important thing that Florida judges look for in an undue influence case is that the decedent’s free will was overcome by the actions of the undue influencer.
Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. Today
If your loved one was taken advantage of by a caretaker or other individual who had access and control over them, an experienced Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation lawyer can help you make things right. Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule a consultation.