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Posted on Monday, January 11th, 2016 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My caregiver has been with me for over two years and is a saint. I want to give her a gift in my will, but I am worried my children will think that this was her idea and try to stop the gift. What do you suggest?

You are correct to be concerned, as caregivers are often in a position to use undue influence to get ill patients to give them gifts. If your children decide to challenge the gift, it could delay your estate and create a court battle that would only be expensive for all involved.

I suggest that you meet with an estate planning lawyer who also has experience with estate litigation. This dual experience will help your lawyer avoid future conflict. He or she will know what problems can result from sloppy work in making this will change. The lawyer will then help add the clause to your will, and also be available to testify in the future about your mental state if your children believe that your caregiver was behind the gift. Your caretaker should not be present for any of this.

I understand that you wish to keep your financial plans private, but it would also be a good idea to tell your children about the gift now, while you can explain your intent.

If would like more information about estate planning, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation with one of our Philadelphia estate planning lawyers.

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