Will Fraud

If you suspect that a will is fraudulent, you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. It’s important that you are able to prove that the will is fraudulent, as otherwise you could end up being penalised by the court for making false accusations.

Typically, fraudulent wills occur when the person committing the fraud deceives the testator so that they make certain gifts in their will, usually (although not always) benefitting the person committing the fraud. The two most common types of fraudulent involved to aspects of the creation of a will – execution and inducement:

  • Fraud in the execution of the will includes scenarios such as the testator signing the wrong will due to the person committing the fraud persuading them to do so.
  • Inducement most commonly refers to the person committing the fraud misrepresenting information to the testator, causing them to make certain provisions in their will that they otherwise wouldn’t have made.

Fraud can also be committed if the person committing the fraud forges the signature of the testator. This is also surprisingly common. In this scenario, you will be asked to provide recent examples of the testator’s signature for analysis and you will almost certainly require a report from a calligrapher [i.e. a handwriting expert] – to confirm that it was the testator who actually signed the will and whether as a result an act of fraud was committed.

If you suspect that you are dealing with a fraudulent will, you should speak to a solicitor as you may well have good grounds for contesting a will, as long as you have proof. If a will is found to be fraudulent then it is likely that it will be declared invalid and the estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy (which in general terms favour the children and spouse of the deceased).

Problems with Will Fraud? Talk to our specialists first
Wherever you live in England and Wales, if you have concerns about a potentially fraudulent will, our specialist inheritance lawyers  can help.

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