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How to Avoid Undue Influence Claims 

When one person takes advantage of another he or she is placing undue influence on that person in order to gain something. In legal situations, it is often to influence the person’s decisions regarding personal and financial matters. Our lawyer in Raleigh NC has more information about this.

Undue Influence Claim Avoidance | Lawyer Raleigh NC

For example, Mary does not have many family members left to take care of her. She depends on her niece. Sue, her brother’s daughter, has always taken the time to visit her. Now that Mary is older, she has some health problems that make it hard for her to live alone. She asked Sue if she would be willing to live in her home for a while, but Sue was not interested. Sue suggested she think about moving into an assisted living facility. Mary does not feel she needs to make that step just yet, but she does respect Sue’s opinion. Mary does not have anyone else to turn to for advice, so she lets Sue’s excessive insistence change her mind. She moves into the home several months later.
Sue could be seen as having exerted undue influence over Mary.  She knew that Mary did not have anyone else to turn to for advice, and knew that Mary would eventually give in. Sue would probably disagree and say that she was doing what was best for Mary. It is a gray area when it comes to helping people in weaker positions, such as the elderly, sick or mentally disabled, make choices.
If you are in a situation like Sue and someone is claiming that you have exerted undue influence over someone, there are ways you can protect yourself. Let’s take a look at a few of them. 

  1. Put it in writing. When you are offering to work for someone elderly or in poor health for pay, such as helping to take care of them or cleaning their home, have a simple contract drawn up explaining the arrangement. This will protect you from someone alleging that you are simply taking money from that person.
  2. Be open. Transparency is important in businesses, but it is also important in relationships, especially when you are dealing with someone who is in what could be deemed a weaker position. If you are handling financial matters or personal decisions for someone, make sure that you are open to others in that person’s life. If you do not share details it could give the impression that you are doing things that they may not approve of.
  3. Keep track of expenses. When it comes to finances, make sure you keep all receipts. Make purchases with checks or credit cards rather than cash so you have records of everything. Do not mix your own money with the other person’s finances. Contact our lawyer in Raleigh NC with help on this. 
  4. Make sure they have an estate plan. If the person you are caring for has an estate plan, make sure it is up-to-date. You can help him or her reach out to a lawyer for help. If he or she does not have one, but is still able to make sound decisions, reach out to a lawyer in Raleigh NC to help create one. Step back from the process so that you will not been seen as placing undue influence on the details.

Eldreth Law Firm, PLLC  | Lawyer in Raleigh NC
While it may be too late for Sue, you can protect yourself against claims like this if you take the proper steps. If you want legal advice on how to handle claims of undue influence, call us, today. Our lawyer in Raleigh NC can help. 

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