Identifying Inheritance Fraud

In Estate Planning, General by Coolidge Wall

Inheritance fraud involves using deceit or misrepresentation to obtain undeserved assets or property from a decedent. While it may sound like something that could never happen to you or anyone you know, inheritance fraud occurs more frequently that you might imagine.

Consider the following examples of inheritance fraud:

  • Forgery – Typically, forgery is the most widely recognized type of inheritance fraud. An heir, bitter over his or her inheritance (or lack thereof), could forge certain terms of a will or the signature of the testator, or even fabricate an entire will.
  • Elder abuseElder abuse may be physical, sexual, emotional, exploitative or financial in nature. Inheritance fraud is a type of emotional and financial manipulation that typically occurs when a caregiver or family member dupes or coerces an elderly person into altering his or her will. Those suffering from dementia or other types of mental incapacity are particularly vulnerable.
  • Will destruction – Yet another form of inheritance fraud is the destruction of a will. If a family member or other beneficiary is unhappy with the provisions of a last will, he or she may destroy or dispose of the document. Without a will, the estate of the decedent is distributed according to the state’s intestate succession laws. While intestacy is usually seen as bad thing, it may benefit a family member who has been disinherited.

If you need assistance creating a solid, effective estate plan or suspect that your loved one may be a victim of inheritance fraud in Ohio, seek legal guidance from a qualified attorney.

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