Posted on Apr 10, 2013

Undue influence of an older person can take many forms.  Undue influence occurs for example, when a confidential relationship exists and a trusted individual takes advantage of a vulnerable individual. An example of a confidential relationship would be between an adult son or daughter and an elderly parent. In this type of relationship, the adult son or daughter may see and take advantage of a situation ultimately benefiting themselves while hurting the elderly parent or by being treated better than they might otherwise have been.  If undue influence is proven the contract, a will, or agreement will then be voidable.

In a recent Pennsylvania case undue influence was proven.   A mother sold her farm to her son who had been living with her at the time.  The mother was quite old, and hard of hearing.  The mother and son had a trusting relationship. Furthermore, the mother had limited knowledge and experience in taking care of her own as well as the farm’s finances. Her husband had always dealt with the finances. The mother had sold the farm to the son for a price that was well below market value.  Because of her age and trust, she was not able to realize that a considerable portion of the purchase price which was payable over thirty years was extremely low.

Lastly, the court noted the interesting feature that “the party alleged to have been unduly influenced was able to capably testify that she had been unduly influenced.”

Neugebauer v. Neugebauer, 804 N. W. 2nd 450 (S.D. 2011)

David M. Frees, III
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