Saturday, January 6, 2007

Isolation of Elders and Undue Influence a Case Study

Case Study.

An 88-year-old widow had been hospitalized at a private psychiatric institution at age 82 because of a paranoid psychotic state and cerebrovascular disease - arteriosclerosis. She was hospitalized for sixmonths and placed under guardianship; she was transferred to a nursing home run by a religious order, where she remained until her death.

The widow prepared a will leaving her estate to the nursing home. When it was known that a will was being prepared, the daughter hired psychiatrist Z who had managed the patient during her six month psychiatric hospitalization five or six years earlier to re-examine her mother. The Mother Superior held the patient "incommunicado" and would not let the psychiatrist who had gone to the nursing home examine the patient.

The court decided that the patient was not shown to be mentally incompetent (that is, lacking testamentary capacity). The court did rule that the will was the result of 'undue influence', resulting in the voiding of the will and the disposition of the estate to the daughter by an earlier will. Pg. 19

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