Leaving assets to your adult children or other beneficiaries may seem simple. But in many situations, it can be quite tricky.
The Sandwich Generation is torn between caretaking responsibilities for their minor children and their elderly parents. But first, they need to make sure they take care of themselves. Read on to learn more.
Estate Planning is essential for many reasons, which are set forth in prior articles. Links to these articles are set forth at the end of this article. This series focuses on how an Estate Plan could be challenged. This series shows the importance of doing Estate Planning in the right way. The first article in this series focused on formalities. The second article in the series examined undue influence. The third article in the series looked at fraud. This article will focus on testamentary capacity.
Let’s say your father signed a Will. He avoided all the pitfalls of the prior article. Your father went to an experienced estate planning attorney who made sure the execution of the Will met with your state’s requirements. There was no undue influence which was discussed in the second article in the series. The signature was not fraudulent, as discussed in the third article in the series. However, your father still had to have “testamentary capacity” when he signed the Will.
This week I’m sharing a blog from the office of Mike Wakshull, a forensic document examiner. I’ll be sharing blogs from Mike Wakshull in this space from time to time.
Now, here’s the blog from Mike Wakshull:
Blog Author: Mike Wakshull, MS, CQE, CISA, PMP
You see an unfamiliar signature on a will or trust that was allegedly signed by a deceased relative. You suspect the signature on a trust or will is not legitimate. There are steps you can take before engaging the expense of hiring a forensic document examiner to determine whether the signature is legitimate.
Many people’s signatures change over time due to age-related problems, changes in health, injury, and other causes. Some people’s signatures are virtually identical over time. To determine the consistency of the person’s signature, collect 15 or more signatures written by the deceased relative within two or three years of the signature in question. These signatures should span the date of this signature. This shows whether the person’s signature is consistent or has changed.
Estate Planning is critical to making sure your wishes are carried out. This series focuses on how an Estate Plan could be challenged. This series will show the importance of doing Estate Planning in the right way. The first article in the series looked at formal requirements. This second article focuses on undue influence.
Undue influence consists of someone taking unfair advantage of another, especially when they hold real or apparent authority over them. An example of this is a caregiver for an elderly person who isolates them from their family and convinces them to leave most or all of their assets to the caregiver. Essentially, the person exerting undue influence takes unfair advantage of another person’s frailty of mind or body to get an unfair advantage over them. Undue influence can come from an outsider, such as the caregiver, or could come from a family member.