Fraud and Forgery in Probate Law
Probate law is notoriously known to have fraud and forgery accompany it. The Will itself can be subject to forgery or fraud. If a Will is forged or fraudulent, then the division of the entire estate could potentially be at risk. Assets could be hidden; unauthorized payments can be made from funds belonging to the estate. But these are just a few ways fraud can occur, you as the rightful heir to the estate, have the absolute right to take action against such occurrence. Guerra | Days Law Group has the experience and the patience to help you come to a resolution.
When an estate is recognized by the State as a deceased’s estate, the probate process has commenced. If there is a Will, then the will states the name(s) of the Executors or Personal Representatives the deceased has chosen to carry out his/her will. However, if there is no Will, the State elects an Administrator to carry out to wishes of the deceased as stated in the will.
If there is a will, the named Executor submits the Will and death certificate of the deceased to the appropriate probate court. She then verifies the authenticity of the will and if the Executor is truly the one stated in the Will.
In the case where no will exists, the interested party petitions in the Probate Court. The death certificate will be examined to verify that the person is truly dead. And since there is no Will, the examiner will also verify of the one petitioning is a qualified Administrator. Then, in a simple world, the Executor or Administrator will pay the necessary fees and in turn receives documentation ensuring their representation of the estate.
Fraud and Forgery
Fraud and Forgery can appear in many different forms in Probate, listed below are just to name a few.
Will Contest – when a there is another person challenging the authenticity of the Will entirely.
Administrator Appointments – when there is no Will and then when one who should serve as the Administrator cannot be determined, these disputes over who should serve as the Administrator lead to a contested hearing of the Will. This is where an experienced Houston Probate Attorney would be able to determine the evidence submitted to the claim of Administrative rights over the estate. This can become very crucial if not caught early on. It does not take long for the one appointing the Administrator to make a decision. All it takes is a single improper procedural or evidentiary error for the wrong person to gain control of the estate.
Executor Fraud – When an interested party believes the appointed Executor has committed fraud in the way the estate was executed, there is potential for fraud. Once again, a Houston Probate Attorney from Guerra | Days Law Group will be able to determine that for you.
Formal Accountings – when an interested party believes the Executor or Administrator has committed fraud, a well-versed Houston Probate Attorney will be able to request an evidentiary hearing in order to the alleged fraud.
Those are just some of the main ways a person can commit fraud when in Probate. But there can be trustees, guardians, or agents under power of attorney removals who can also commit fraud in any of the above-mentioned ways.
Proving Fraud and Forgery in Court
Ultimately it is the judge who will decide on whether Fraud exists in your case or not after hearing the all the evidence presented. This would include: depositions, expert witness testimony, interrogatories, subpoena of all pertinent documents, etc. You will need the assistance of an experienced Houston Probate Attorney to gather the ‘right’ evidence. Do not hesitate to get the representation you need immediately and call an attorney from Guerra | Days Law Group today.