You've likely heard of a case along these lines before. A wealthy individual dies. When their will is filed with the probate court, it's uncovered that all of the decedent's assets are unexpectedly earmarked not to those who were expected heirs, but instead someone else.
Situations like this often give rise to contested will cases. When they do, questions are often raised over whether the testator was defrauded or subjected to elder abuse in order to have them draft either their will or trust a certain way. If such an event is proven to have occurred, then such behavior is coined as "undue influence".
Although most legal experts would argue that cases in which undue influence is alleged and ultimately proven are rare, when such instances are discovered, they can result in either a will or trust being invalidated.
Most often undue influence comes at the hands of someone the testator trusts, whether it be their adult child, a caregiver, or someone else. In some cases, a testator may be convinced to redraft their will or trust in an unintended person's favor when they are ill. Generally, this person is able to manipulate the testator into omitting other heirs as beneficiaries of their estate and instead leaving a large portion, if not all of it, to them instead.
When called upon to evaluate cases involving suspected undue influence, one red flag situation probate judges will be on the lookout for is an instance in which a natural heir may be overlooked in lieu of an atypical beneficiary. An example of this may be a friend receiving all of a decedent's estate over their own child.
If you suspect that your loved one wasn't fully aware of what they were doing when drafting their will or trust, then a Melbourne, Florida trust litigation attorney can advise you of options available to you in your case.