There is a loneliness epidemic among older adults in the U.S. In fact, according to Science of People, as many as 30% of older adults feel lonely. More alarmingly, almost 60% of Americans say they have no person in their lives who knows them well.
Loneliness is problematic for various reasons, not the least of which is the adverse health outcomes that tend to accompany it. In the estate planning context, though, there also might be a link between loneliness and undue influence. Specifically, lonely adults may be more vulnerable to undue influence.
Too quick to make interpersonal connections
For many older adults, loneliness is a painful and new experience. That is, these individuals have had colleagues in the workforce, raised children and maintained life-long friendships. In the final stages of their lives though, colleagues are gone, kids have moved away and friends have died.
To alleviate loneliness, older Americans might be too quick to make interpersonal connections. While there certainly is nothing inherently wrong with developing new friendships, someone might take advantage of lonely adults. Indeed, an undue influencer may use a perceived friendship to work his or her way into a lonely person’s estate plan.
Too polite to question motives
Society has changed in a number of meaningful ways. While some of these charges are welcome, many despair about the loss of congeniality and politeness. Because older Americans lived most of their lives in a bygone era, they might be too polite to question the motives of an undue influencer.
There is a way to prevent lonely adults from falling victim to undue influence when planning their estates, of course. Ultimately, those closest to them must make a diligent effort to remain present in their lives.