As our society ages, the elderly become increasingly targeted by those looking for an easy profit. Unfortunately, sometimes the person targeting the elderly comes from within the family unit.
Here is an example: an elderly man has two children, both of whom he loves dearly. One lives close by, while the other is in a different state. As the father's health begins to decline, he becomes more dependant on the son who lives close by. Gradually, the son begins to use his position of access and trust and pursuades the father to change his estate plan. In many cases, the son then finds and hires a lawyer, and then has his father change the estate plan, cutting out his brother. The brother who was cut out does not discover this until the father passes away.
Here is another example: an elderly parent is placed in a nursing care facility in the final months of his life. An unscrupulous nurse befriends the parent, and asks him to simply sign a few forms. After he dies, his children find out the nurse recieved his entire estate.
These are fact patterns which I have litigated over the years, and these are but two small examples. Many people have no idea what their rights are after a loved one passes away, and are ill equiped to deal with these issues during this time of grieving.
After discovering that a loved one may have been taken advantage of, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. There are many clocks that tick in the legal world, and the longer you wait, the more likely you will miss an opportunity to contest an estate plan.
You may also be on the other side of this coin. That is, you may be the beneficiary of an estate that has others upset. In this case, you may become the target of a legal challenge. You need competent and aggressive counsel in this case also.