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Is gatekeeping a sign of undue influence on the elderly?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Estate Planning |

You always had a close relationship with your grandmother – until your uncle moved into her home to serve as her caregiver. Suddenly, you find that you’re increasingly less welcome to visit – if not outright discouraged based on the idea that your visits are a strain on her energy or health.

It isn’t very long before you suddenly find that you can’t even get a phone call unless your uncle is willing to put you through, and your frequent cards or social media posts to your grandmother are going unanswered. Suddenly, your grandmother’s health takes a turn for the worse – and when she passes away, you find out that her will was changed and your uncle is either heavily or exclusively favored.

Caregiver gatekeeping can be a way to isolate the elderly 

These kinds of scenarios play out all the time in families, with one person becoming the self-appointed “gatekeeper” to an elderly relative of means. Sometimes, they’re simply overprotective relatives and genuinely concerned about their loved ones. Sometimes, however, they are deliberately isolating the senior to make them dependent upon their care – and that can easily lead to manipulation for personal gain.

One of the many reasons that wills are often challenged is the possibility that someone was “unduly influenced” by a caregiver who was intentionally manipulative. If you believe that your loved one’s estate plan was engineered by someone else or that a living loved one is increasingly being isolated and manipulated through gatekeeping, it’s always wisest to seek legal guidance quickly. Delays could make it impossible for you to protect a living loved one or challenge an estate plan in time to recover what might be lost.