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Authenticity of signature on check at center of probate dispute

We've previously written posts about estate disputes and will contests in which undue influence or an individual’s capacity was in question. A recent case, which centers on the authenticity of a signature, proves exactly how complicated many cases involving probate litigation can become.

The case in question revolves around the estate of a late college professor who died at the age of 75. In his will, the man bequeathed certain personal objects to a friend including two watches and a car. He also, at least according to the friend, gave the man a check for $100,000. The authenticity of the signature on this check, however, has been called into question and lead to a lawsuit being filed by the man who contends the check is valid and that he is entitled to the $100,000.

A major sticking point in the case is the fact that while the watches and car were accounted for in the will, the $100,000 was not. Moreover, the check was allegedly made out a week prior to the late professor's death. The intended recipient, who is described as a "long-term friend" of the decedent, contends the check is valid and that he is therefore entitled to the cash.

The late professor had no other living relatives or heirs. He left the bulk of his estate to benefit the university at which he taught with very specific directives on how the assets were to be used. A judge or jury is expected to make a determination in whether or not the $100,000 is valid. 

Source: Bangor Daily News, "Friend sues estate of former UMA professor over $100,000 check," Judy Harrison, Dec. 30, 2013

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