While the majority of people are naturally devastated when a loved one passes on, this is not always the case for some folks. It is not unusual for some individuals to see an opportunity and attempt to reap where they did not sow by helping themselves to the deceased person’s assets and other personal possessions.
Anyone can commit probate fraud, from career criminals to people who were closest to the deceased and are thus in the highest positions of trust. For instance, an executor could manipulate figures with the goal of diverting the decedent’s assets from the designated beneficiaries. The importance of staying alert when it comes to probate fraud cannot be overstated.
Elements of probate fraud
Here are the four elements of probate fraud that you should be on the lookout for if you suspect that something mischievous could be going on with your loved one’s estate:
- False statements about material facts
- False representations
- Threats of harm by the executor
- Withholding of vital information
However, it is important to understand that not every false or inaccurate statement can be a sign of probate fraud. The falsehood must be about a specific material fact. A fact is considered material when it plays a vital role in the individual’s decision-making. A fact may be deemed material if an individual solely relied on it to act the way they did.
Can you sue for false representation?
Yes, you can. Probate fraud litigation occurs when an interested party makes a claim of fraud. However, to validate your claim, you must be able to provide factual evidence that backs up what you are saying.
Probate fraud is a serious problem. If you suspect that’s what is happening with a loved one’s estate, act quickly to preserve your rights and the assets involved.