The validity of wills in Naperville may be contested on many grounds, including fraud. Fraudulent conduct, if proven, could cause a court to rule that a will is invalid. The property at issue could then be distributed according to the terms of an earlier will or, if no valid will exists, under the laws of intestate succession.

Proving fraud in Naperville wills is challenging, so it is wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible if fraud is suspected. Evidence needed to support allegations of fraud should be collected and preserved while it remains readily available.

Fraud Includes a Wide Range of Circumstances

Fraud generally refers to deceptive action undertaken for illegal or unfair gain. Actions considered to constitute fraud in Naperville wills may include:

  • Forging the testator’s signature
  • Tricking a testator into signing a will when they believe it to be a different document
  • Changing the terms of a will after it has been signed
  • Misleading the testator about the effects of terms in the will

Fraudulent conduct is one of the grounds that may form the basis of a successful challenge to a will even if it has been properly executed.

Parties Who May Contest a Will Based on Fraud

Under state law, only a person with legal standing may challenge the validity of a will based on allegations of fraud or other impropriety. An individual has standing to file challenge based on fraud in Naperville wills under 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. §5/8-1 if they are an “interested person”.

Those who have a property right or financial interest that could be affected by the will are considered to be interested persons. This includes relatives who would inherit under the law if the deceased person had left no will.

Deadline to Challenge Fraud in Naperville Wills

Once a will is admitted into probate, the clock starts ticking. An interested person must file a petition to contest a will within six months, or the right to challenge based on fraud in Naperville wills is forfeit due to the statute of limitations.

However, there may be ways to challenge a fraud in a will after the six-month deadline has passed. If a later will is located, that will may be admitted to probate and if found valid, it could invalidate the earlier will. In addition, parties who believe fraudulent conduct occurred could file a civil lawsuit for “intentional interference with expectancy of inheritance” or “fraudulent inducement”.

Fraudulent Inducement Claims

Unlike a claim contesting the validity of a will based on fraud, a civil lawsuit for fraudulent inducement has no effect on a will itself. Rather, in this type of fraudulent inducement claim, an individual seeks compensation directly from the person who benefitted from fraud in Naperville wills.

When someone asserts fraudulent inducement, they must show that the alleged wrongdoer deliberately made false statements to the testator that caused the testator to distribute assets in a manner which was different and that the change diminished what the person filing the lawsuit would otherwise have received. The statute of limitations is much longer for filing a tort claim for fraudulent inducement or tortious interference with expectancy of inheritance.

Help Fighting Fraud in Naperville Wills

If you suspect that fraudulent conduct led to a change in a will that reduced your inheritance, you may be uncertain how to act if you do not have proof of wrongdoing. It is a good idea to talk to a knowledgeable probate attorney for advice.

A lawyer could investigate to determine whether there are grounds to contest a will or file a claim for fraudulent inducement. Fraud in Naperville wills should be addressed in order to fulfill the true intentions of the testator and help deter similar wrongdoing in the future.