The writer of a will is often the target of many forms of harassment, manipulation and even harm. This is because many people want to get their hands on the assets behind the will, or power of the estate itself.
Manipulation is often one of the least obvious but most harmful forms of violence that a testator could face. But how exactly does it manifest?
What is the goal?
Cornell Law School looks into the act of manipulating a testator. In some cases, this is exerting undue influence, i.e. using a position of power or closeness with the target in order to manipulate them for some gain.
Typically, the manipulator in this scenario wants to gain a bigger portion of the estate. They may also want more control over the estate itself. In this case, they may aim to get appointed the estate executor.
They will often utilize different means to achieve these goals. First, they may attempt to isolate the victim in order to keep them from receiving the counsel and opinion of others. This is also a red flag that many people first notice, as it is often obvious when a manipulator attempts to cut off avenues of contact between a testator and their loved ones.
They may even take advantage of a testator’s mental health or memory. Sometimes they might outright trick victims into signing paperwork that gives away their power without them realizing what they have done.
It is important for loved ones of testators to step up and call attention to these potentially dangerous situations, taking action on behalf of the victim.