Some suspicious names surfaced as beneficiaries to your father’s estate. You suspect dishonesty and forgery are behind it. Someone took advantage of your vulnerable father and is attempting to steal your inheritance. As long as you have an interest in the estate, you may challenge the will.
Forgery is among the grounds for which beneficiaries may challenge a will. Other reasons to pursue a challenge may include a testator’s lack of mental capacity, undue influence from a manipulative person, fraud and the improper execution of this important document. Some of these reasons may point to a forged will, too.
Howard Hughes’s fake will
One of the most notorious cases of a forged will surfaced in 1976, when a Utah man came forward with a document said to be reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes’s last will and testament. Melvin Dummar claimed that an anonymous man gave him the will, leaving him one-sixteenth — an estimated $156 million — of Hughes’s estate.
Dummar said that nine years earlier while driving in the Nevada desert, he spotted a disheveled and injured man – who allegedly was Hughes — lying on a dirt road. Dummar then gave the man a ride to Las Vegas. None of Dummar’s story was true.
Missing documents, forged signatures
Here are signs of a forged will:
- Questionable changes to the document
- Missing and manipulated documents
- Unproven alterations
- Forged signatures discounted through handwriting analysis; an automatic invalidation of a will or parts of it
With the discovery of a valid will, the probate process begins anew. However, if a valid will does not exist, then the court finds that the decedent died “intestate” – without a will. In the latter scenario, the state decides what happens to the estate’s assets.
Seek legal advice if you suspect forgery
Few wills are challenged in probate. However, some need to be. If you suspect forgery or some other reason lurks behind a questionable will, seek prompt legal advice.