Wills represent the wishes of a testator and dictates what is to be done with his or her estate upon his or her death. Especially for people who own real estate, businesses, or have large sums of money in bank accounts, the temptation for others to give themselves an upper hand in these situations is always present.
In some cases, this could lead to a potential beneficiary committing fraud by the forging of a signature, or the changing of terms after the testators signs it. Any of these situations could be a valid reason for a person to contest a will in probate court.
Fraud in Lombard wills is a severe problem in the world of trusts and estates. If you believe that a person has improperly altered a will, it is possible to ask the probate court to admit the will to probate. A seasoned wills attorney could help you evaluate your claim and, if necessary, take the case to court.
A will is a legally binding document in which a testator issues orders to the executor of his or her estate to be followed when he or she dies. People who feel left out by these terms, or those who did not inherit when the testator passed without a will, may attempt to influence the court’s process in fulfilling these orders.
The simplest example of fraud is to fake a testator’s signature on a will. 755 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/4-3 states that any will must be in writing and signed by the testator.
It can be easy for a person to create a new will, copy a signature, and submit a will to the probate court as the most recent recording of the testator’s wishes. Individuals should be vigilant for mismatched signatures and may want to track a testator’s movements to see if it was possible that he or she was in the location of the supposed signature at the time of the signing.
Another possible example of fraud is the unauthorized alteration of a will in Lombard. Through what is known as a codicil, a testator may alter his or her will at any time as long as he or she follows the signature and witness rules described above. A person who manufactures a codicil and forges a signature also commits will fraud, which an attorney in Lombard could help a person to recognize and contest.
Barring evidence to the contrary, a probate court assumes that a will is a valid instrument. However, any interested person may file a petition with the court within six months of the submission of that will to contest its validity, according to 755 ILCS 5/8-1.
A contesting party may request a jury trial to determine the validity of any will, but he or she would have the burden of proving that the will is, in fact, a forgery. A ruling in favor of the contesting party often voids the will and grants priority status to any prior wills that the forgery may have preempted. A Lombard lawyer could help with contesting wills in probate court and representing the filing party’s best interests during all courtroom sessions.
Every person over the age of 18 has the right to say what is done with his or her estate after he or she passes away. In cases involving decedents with significant assets or interests, who benefits from the passing of another is often a contentious issue. It is not uncommon for people who feel left out by a current will—or those who stand to benefit from there being no will at all—to commit fraud.
Producing fake wills, revoking current wills without the testator’s knowledge, or making amendments that change the purpose of that will all constitute illegal acts of fraud. An attorney could help you recognize fraud in Lombard wills and take your case to court if necessary. Call today to make an appointment.