Committing fraud with a Will is in many cases very difficult to prove and yet it is a reality. There are a variety of reasons why the last Will of a deceased might not be considered valid. Perhaps they were coerced in some way, or their signature was forged. In other cases simply not being of the right mind – for example, if the deceased had Dementia when the will was updated – is enough for the courts to consider the Will not valid.
If a Will is determined to be fraudulent, then an earlier version of the Will may be used. If there is no such Will, it is likely that the government will take over regarding dictating who the beneficiaries are.
How Can You Tell If a Will is Fraudulent?
There are a few warning signs that you should look out for when determining whether a Will is fraudulent or not. Just because the Will does not leave you what you thought you deserve does not automatically make it fraudulent. Some key examples of fraud include:
- The original Will was completely destroyed, leaving behind a newer revision that is suspicious to family members.
- The signature of the Will is either forced or not that of the deceased. You will need to provide examples of their real signature to submit into evidence, though this does not always result in a Will being determined to be fraudulent.
- The Will does not have a witness present and signed for.
- There are extenuating circumstances that indicate the deceased might have been tricked or otherwise coerced into signing this new Will.
- If the deceased has a caregiver that took care of all their needs for many years, and the Will is unreasonably skewered towards them.
- The Will was not made with legal counsel, and was instead made at home.
- The Will was altered when the deceased was in hospital or made when they were not of the right mind.
What to Do if You Believe a Will is Fraudulent?
If you believe the Will is fraudulent, you must first have the right to contest a will. Who can contest a Will? Generally speaking spouses, civil partners, and blood relatives can contest a Will, though there are some non-blood relative exceptions that have been admitted into the law in recent years. A surrogate child, for example, who was adopted in all but name can also contest a Will.
If you believe that a Will is fraudulent you will need to follow these steps:
- Contact Will Dispute Lawyers to see if you have a case
- Gather Evidence that supports your claim that the Will is fraudulent
- Acquire Witness Reports that corroborate the evidence that the deceased was not in their right mind or otherwise coerced.
- Choose Settlement or Pursue Legal Action to acquire what you believe is a fair deal.
It is important to note that it is very difficult to contest a fraudulent Will. Be very careful in collecting as much evidence and testimonies as you can.