Many times, families realize far too late they haven’t properly set up a beneficiary plan with a family law attorney Grand Rapids Mi. In a recent case, a decedent’s children even alleged that a caregiver, Bonnie Rowan, had used undue influence over their father, causing him to name a caregiver at the contingent beneficiary. So what do you do in such a situation? What do you need to know? Who can you turn to in such a devastating time?
In this recent case mentioned above, the court found no evidence of undue influence or even presumption of undue influence, but the children appealed. The children were told, “mere poisoning of decedent’s mind, in this case, is insufficient; there must also be evidence Rowan made misrepresentations that poisoned decedent’s mind.”
There was no evidence for the court to do anything contrary to the caregiver’s claim, but they could acknowledge there was evidence Rowan had “schemed” to turn the decedent against his children. Though his relationship with the children deteriorated after Rowan began caring for him, this isn’t quite sufficient.
“Because there was no evidence of threats, misrepresentation, undue flattery, fraud, or physical or moral coercion, there is no genuine issue of material fact regarding the existence of undue influence,” the Court of Appeals wrote.
Admittedly, it can be a very difficult thing to prove, but the children claimed there was evidence Rowan had improperly influenced their father through poisoning of the mind. With what was sure to be a very emotional appeal, their hope was pinned on this idea but lacked the material fact.
“The cases appellants rely on indicate that an undue influence claim may be based on a person’s misrepresentations, which may take the form of lies regarding family and family relationships,” the Court of Appeals noted.
However, the appeals court ultimately ruled that the mere poisoning of the decedent’s mind was insufficient. Hard evidence Rowan made specific misrepresentations that poisoned the decedent’s mind was necessary, which the children did not have.
Use Of Family Law Attorney
If this case is to be used as a teachable lesson, we hope you know that a family law attorney is your best hope in reducing the risk of such a situation. By using the process of setting up beneficiaries for loved ones, you can be sure no one falls victim while in a state where they may be easily influenced. The death of a loved one is already difficult without the turmoil of wading through the legal process. With a family law attorney, you can utilize reliable, preventative tools and can save your family from spending time in a courtroom.
If you or someone you know is going through a difficult custody matter where they may need the assistance of our family law attorneys, please call the Law Offices of Sean Patrick Cox P.L.L.C. at (616) 942-6404 for a free consultation.