Undue influence is also a legal concept. Jurisprudence and statutes recognize that undue influence can undermine an individual's self-determination. Undue influence is a key element in cases of financial abuse. Almost always, he took advantage of the elderly victim through coercion, manipulation or deception and, therefore, lost his assets and money to the perpetrator.
Courts evaluate multiple factors when deciding whether someone exercised inadequate control over an elderly person. Undue influence should cause the older adult to take action or refrain from acting and thus achieve an uneven result. Elder abuse as a result of undue influence is a real and growing risk, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The California Dependent Adult and Elder Abuse Civil Protection Act offers nearly every remedy under the sun, and a civil action can request that the defendant be liable for attorney's fees, costs, and punitive damages, as well as all special and general damages.
Anecdotally, if an abusive child threatens never to talk to an elderly parent or prevent him from seeing his grandchildren, unless given the vacation home that would have been divided with all the children, that can be considered an undue influence. Undue influence has its roots as a common law cause of action to challenge transfers of property and gifts and is increasingly recognized as a form of elder abuse and a cause of action in cases of financial exploitation. However, financial abuse of elders can also include something as simple as forging a signature on a check. In making such a determination, the Court will consider the degree of isolation, ill health and mental capacity of the elder and what benefit, if any, the defendant provided to him.
If a person can prove undue influence or elder abuse as a reason for an asset transfer, a modification of an estate planning document, or the extension of donations, a judge can declare a will or trust invalid and withdraw the donations or transfer. Elder abuse cases are situations that are all too common in court, especially if they are incapacitated with mental and physical illness. Announcing the task force, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel stated that “more than 73,000 older adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse. Financial abuse of the elderly is so widespread and so prevalent that even a former director of the CIA and FBI became a victim.
Elder abuse and abuse have become such a problem in the United States that the FBI has its own division to combat the growing cases of elder abuse and fraud, known as the Elder Protection Center. We also frequently see abusive children exerting undue influence on their aging parents to increase the size of their estate in a will and will, or increase their trust fund distributions. The definition and meaning of undue influence, in wills and family trusts, generally refers to a situation in which an abuser convinces a victim to increase the abuser's inheritance, through the use of threats, emotional abuse, withholding sexual relations or affection, or, in the worst case, even physical abuse. One area that deserves more attention is the growing threat of elder abuse by those who exert undue influence on older people isolated during the pandemic.