3 warning signs of estate planning fraud that may demand action

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2021 | Will Contests

When someone you love dies, your grief dominates the first few weeks after their passing. However, eventually, you have to start thinking about their legacy and your future.

Whether you lost a spouse or parent, upholding their last wishes is typically a way to respect the legacy they wanted to leave behind in the world. However, sometimes, there are warning signs that the estate plan or last will isn’t a real reflection of what your loved one wanted.

If you spot any of the three issues below, you may need to consider contesting the last will.

The terms of the estate plan contradict what you know

The more property and close relationships someone has, the more likely they are to talk about their estate planning preferences with the people they love. Talking things out will usually prevent conflicts because everyone knows what to expect.

However, if you learn at the reading of the will that almost all of the terms contradict what your loved one expressed as their preferences during their life, that could be a reason to suspect fraud.

There’s a digital estate plan with no authentication

Digital technology has made access to legal information easier, but it has also made people complacent about their own legal protection. Digital estate planning documents may be convenient, but they don’t have the authentication of a notary or an attorney in many cases. Especially if a digital last will contradict previous versions of someone’s estate plan, it could be a warning sign of fraud.

There are last-minute changes or surprise new documents

Most people create an estate plan and then update it as necessary rather than creating a completely new estate plan when things change. Discovering a newer, unknown set of documents could be a warning sign, as could someone making changes to an estate plan in the last months of their life.

For example, someone could have tricked the testator into signing a document whose contents they did not understand or could have forged their signature on completely false documents.

Recognizing the potential warning signs of fraud might be a good reason to consider contesting a last will. A successful challenge might revert the estate to an earlier last will and better uphold your loved one’s stated wishes.




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