There’s a growing trend of elder exploitation, according to New Hampshire Magazine’s September 2016 issue in the article “Navigating Non-Relative Inheritance.”
As far as the issue of capacity, you must be extremely vigilant and use your radar all the time, especially if you disinherit some children or other natural heirs.
Just about all of the inheritances in a typical estate go to family members or to the deceased’s favorite charities. But when an unrelated individual is the beneficiary of a valuable asset or a large sum of money, it can raise questions and perhaps suspicions from those who felt they had a right to the inheritance. The issue may become how to balance the wishes of the testator—by distributing his or her assets as he or she sees fit—with the right of the bequeathed or the beneficiary of the will to accept it without creating a conflict of interest or violating the essential trust.
Receiving a non-relative inheritance has its risks. If you think you’re going to be named as a beneficiary of a will by someone other than a close relative, you should take steps to protect yourself.
While this may be somewhat rare, the suspicion can be significant, especially if a relative was cut out of the inheritance. You should remove and protect yourself from any dealings that could be interpreted as self-serving. That includes depending upon experts to determine capacity because the court will review this evidence to determine if the will is valid. An experienced estate planning attorney can help to advise your actions.
Fewer than 1% of all inheritances are subject to the federal estate tax, but you should review your estate planning with an experienced estate planning attorney.
There’s something deeper here beyond the letter of the law. It’s about caring for elderly people who’re losing capacity. They deserve dignity and the right to leave their assets as they see fit without the threat of elder exploitation.
The key is understanding and respecting the scope and meaning of caregiving.
Do you live in South Florida? Do you want to leave a bequest to a non-relative that may be contested by your relatives? Are you concerned that your loved one may be vulnerable to elder exploitation? Call me (305-443-3104) right away for peace of mind. I can help!
- I'm an exceptionally experienced Florida Bar Board Certified Estate Planning Attorney,
- I'm a Florida Bar Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, focusing on ALL legal issues related to aging,
- have prepared over 4,000 estate plans in 30+ years in practice,
- have administered over 600 estates through Probate, and
- am a Certified Financial Planner Professional™, plus
- I am also a Florida Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Of course, if you would like more information about General Estate Planning in South Florida, I have a very informative website you are welcome to visit for more information.
Reference: New Hampshire Magazine (September 2016) “Navigating Non-Relative Inheritance”