One of the ways that family members often raise disputes after a death in the family is by claiming undue influence. Regardless of what you want, some people may come forward and say they know your intentions better than you do out of greed.

Fortunately, you can safeguard your wishes from these types of disputes by taking some steps now to prevent the appearance of undue influence.

Choosing the right agents

According to the National Center on Law & Elder Rights, your choice of agents to make your decisions when you cannot may go a long way toward ensuring that people honor your wishes.

The person in question should be:

  • Trustworthy and committed to carrying out your wishes
  • An active listener
  • Emotionally and mentally strong
  • Good at conflict resolution
  • Organized

Even if you know who you want already, take the time to look for red flags such as personal financial issues, emotional instability, addiction or health problems. You also want to make sure the person you choose will be readily available when you need him or her.

Setting up safeguards

Once you have the right person, you still cannot guarantee that no one will challenge him or her. No matter how well you know and trust your agent, you also cannot guarantee that he or she will act in the way you want.

Consider choosing a third party to provide oversight, such as an accountant to go over the financials and make sure everything is aboveboard. A person with no ties to your estate who goes over the books occasionally may prevent loss due to mistakes as well as the potential for fraud. You may also want to require that any major transactions include the signature of a trusted third party.