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How caregivers abuse their position in the hope of an inheritance

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Older adults and people with medical conditions often require caregivers. Whether the caregiver is a member of your family who leaves their job to live with an aging loved one or a professional that your family hires, they are in a position of authority. They control many aspects of their patient’s life and could potentially abuse that authority for personal gain.

One of the more common ways that caregivers misuse their position is to exert undue influence on their charge in the hope of securing a larger windfall in the estate or getting included as someone who is not actually part of the family. Such behavior could constitute undue influence and may necessitate challenges by other family members or heirs because the terms in the last will do not reflect the true wishes of the deceased individual.

Some caregivers will have a sad story to tell

Home health aides and similar professionals don’t make very much money. Some of them have no training whatsoever and only receive minimum wage. Companies that offer low wages also likely don’t do thorough background and behavioral tests on their staff members. The cheaper the service that your family hires, the greater the risk of someone manipulating your loved one for economic benefit.

Given that they make such low wages, these workers might see your loved one as a financial opportunity. By ingratiating themselves to their clients, these unscrupulous people hope to receive financial benefits beyond their paid wages.

They may go so far as to tell your loved one true or completely false stories about hardship in their life. Your loved one’s sense of compassion and human decency might inspire them to write that manipulative worker into their estate plan, likely at the expense of their actual loved ones.

Children, siblings and spouses can abuse someone in their care

Outside professionals aren’t the only ones who intentionally use a position of medical authority for their financial gain. Your own siblings or a stepparent might do the same thing.

They might try to convince your loved one that they deserve more from the estate because of their services or because they’ve had a hard life. Some people go the other approach and abuse the person in their care or threaten to withhold medication, food and social visits if they don’t comply with their wishes.

If you have any reason to suspect that a caregiver uses their position to manipulate your loved one into changing their last will, you may need to challenge the new version of the will before that person benefits financially from their unscrupulous behavior.