If I feel that my cousin unduly influenced my aunt to change her living Trust to my detriment, what are my rights?

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If I feel that my cousin unduly influenced my aunt to change her living Trust to my detriment, what are my rights?

Approximately 2 months prior to my aunt’s death, her living Trust provided for a 50/50 split between my cousin and I. Then, about 4 months ago, my cousin went in and had my aunt sign papers to amend the Trust so that the split would be 20/80 (in my cousin’s favor), and made herself the trustee. During the time of the amendment of the Trust my aunt was going through congestive heart failure and was in the hospital.

Asked on June 1, 2015 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Undue influence is when someone is a position of power, actual or at least emotional, over another and uses that power to get them to make a will or trust in their favor. An example would be if the caregiver for a disabled person (the disabled person is often practically and emotionally dependent on the caregiver) used their position of power to get a will or trust made or amended. If there was undue influence, it may be possible to challenge the trust amendment and have it set aside. It may also be possible to challenge the trust if your aunt was not mentally competent (such as due to her heart failure or medication she was on) at the time the amendment was made. If you think one or both of these situations existed, you should speak with an attorney (one who does probate work or trusts and estates) about the situation and possibly challenging the amendment.


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