Attorney Brett Hebert, with the national law firm, Gordon Rees, recently wrote an article on the firm’s blog regarding the admissibility of certain correspondence in estate litigation cases.

A typical situation we see involves an elderly person who begins to show signs of losing mental capacity. Then an unscrupulous person “enters” the life of the elderly person, begins to take “care” of the elderly person, and begins to “help” the elderly person with their finances and medical care. Then the elderly person’s estate plan (trust, will, power of attorney) “changes” dramatically to the benefit of the unscrupulous person (and to the detriment of former beneficiaries). As a result, the former beneficiaries of the elderly person begin to ask the unscrupulous person about the changes. The unscrupulous person may send correspondence in return. The elderly person may correspond with the former beneficiaries, too.

These communications typically come in the form of emails, texts, and letters. Sometimes, people post on social media about the disputes. There may even be voicemails or handwritten notes. All of these items are potentially relevant to the dispute and subsequent litigation.

If you suspect that a loved one may have been influenced by someone with ulterior motives, retention of any correspondence with that person or with the possible victim could be beneficial to your case.

Source: Prior Correspondence: A Key Tool in Preparing Your Estate Dispute Case for Trial | Estate Conflicts