Most people create their last will long before they die. They may even have a collection of documents in a comprehensive estate plan.
The people left behind when someone dies can review their last will to learn their wishes. After filing the document with probate courts, they can then distribute property to the beneficiaries listed in the document.
In rare cases, family members may challenge a last will because they suspect fraud. What are some warning signs that a last will might be fraudulent?
It is a digital document without witnesses or notarization
When someone creates a last will with a lawyer, that attorney will usually sign the documents. It is common for people to hire a notary to authenticate the signatures on the document as well. If you have a digital last will with no authentication, that could be a warning sign of potential fraud.
It has a signature that seems wrong or a little too perfect
Sometimes, one person will fraudulently sign a document pretending to be another individual. They might assign in a way that is completely contrary to how the testator usually signs their name. Alternatively, last wills with signatures that look like they could be the result of tracing could also be fraudulent documents. It is natural for signatures to vary a little one to the next.
It is too different from what the testator always talked about wanting
Fraudulent estate plans often differ drastically from the stated intentions of a testator. If these do documents disinherit everyone but one family member or otherwise subvert someone’s long-stated estate plans, you may have reason to suspect fraud.
Identifying circumstances that can give rise to will contests can help you protect your inheritance.