Fraud in Wheaton wills provides grounds to contest a will or take other legal action. While the laws concerning probate procedures, execution of wills, and related matters are intended to prevent fraudulent behavior, fraud certainly could and does occur. Family members or other interested parties need to be prepared to recognize and combat fraud in Wheaton wills.

If you believe improprieties occurred involving the creation, execution, or administration of a will, it is wise to consult a knowledgeable attorney who could review the circumstances and explain your options. The time to contest a will is limited, and other options for relief may also only be available for a short time.

Overview of Fraud in Wills

Fraud is a broad legal term that refers to deceptive illegal practices. Someone commits fraud when they intentionally misrepresent the truth and causes another person to suffer losses because of that fabrication.

Fraud in Creation

Fraud could occur when a testator is considering terms for a will. For instance, a caregiver who has been refusing to allow family members to see the testator could tell the testator that the family members do not care and never come to visit so the testator should leave all property to the caregiver’s favorite charity. If the testator changes the will in reliance on the false information about their family, then that could be considered be fraud in the creation of a Wheaton will.

Fraud in Execution

The execution of a will may also be fraudulent. For instance, someone may forge the signature of the testator or ask the testator to sign a document telling them that it is something other than a will.

Fraud in Administration

Even if a will is drafted and executed legally and in accordance with the wishes of the testator, fraud may occur during the administration of the will. For example, the executor of the estate could sell property at less than actual value to someone with whom they do business, then receive a payment when that person resells the property at full value. This instances certainly qualifies as fraud.

Recognizing Fraudulent Wills

Fraud in Wheaton wills may be obvious, but often it requires a certain amount of investigation to determine whether a will should be treated as fraudulent. Some signs of potential fraud include:

  • Gifts to unknown charities or organizations
  • Exclusion of family members without adequate explanation
  • A will or codicil not prepared by an attorney
  • Variation in gifts between family members
  • Terms that differ from what was promised by the testator
  • Execution of a will during a final illness or the onset of dementia

Of course, an individual may distribute property however they choose, and they are not required to share property among family members. However, the law presumes that property goes to family and when it does not and the testator has not explained why, that could provide grounds for investigation and challenge of a will.

How to Handle Fraud in Wheaton Wills

If you suspect fraud in Wheaton wills, it is never a bad idea to talk to an experienced probate attorney. A legal advocate could review the circumstances and determine whether it might be wise to contest the will. Only interested persons may challenge the will in court. To be an interested person, you must be someone who would inherit if there were no will or be a beneficiary under the current or prior wills.

Generally, a challenge alleging fraud in Wheaton wills must be filed within six months if contesting the validity of the will in probate. After that time, an individual may be able to file a claim for intentional interference with the expectancy of inheritance.