Fraud is not an issue in the majority of Palm City probate cases, but when it becomes a problem, it is an extremely serious one. Fraud, duress, or mistakes can threaten the intention of the person who created the will. Disputes over allegations of fraud can prove costly and delay the settlement of an estate.
If you suspect fraud in the execution, amendment, or administration of a will, it is wise to seek advice from an experienced trusts and estates lawyer as soon as possible. The law provides remedies for fraud in Palm City wills, but opportunities for relief may become less readily available as time passes.
Fraud is a broad legal term that can encompass a wide range of conduct. When someone misleads others for their own gain, that is fraud. Generally, fraud involves false information, either making statements that are not true or withholding information that should be revealed.
When a person knowingly provides false information with the intention someone else will rely on it, and harm results, that person has committed fraud. In Palm City wills, fraud can involve several types of improper behavior.
Tricking someone into signing a will is one form of fraud in Palm City wills. If it can be proven that the person signing did not realize the nature of the document, the will could be ruled void. Similarly, a will is void if the signature on it has been falsified.
Another type of fraudulent procurement of a will occurs when an individual exercises undue influence over the person creating the will. For instance, a caregiver may try to exert influence over a person in their care in order to become a beneficiary. When this happens, the will may not reflect the person’s true wishes and could be considered fraudulent.
Fla. Stat. §732.5165 specifies that a will is void if procured by undue influence, mistake, fraud, or duress. If only part of the will was affected by the fraudulent circumstances, the remaining parts of the will may still be valid.
Similarly, if an individual uses fraudulent techniques to induce someone to revoke their will, then the revocation may be void. However, a person will need to prove that fraud occurred; otherwise, a fraudulent will or revocation may be accepted as valid by the court.
In many situations, only interested parties are able to contest the validity of a will or administration of an estate. These include people designated as beneficiaries in the will or heirs who would inherit under the law if there was no will.
To prove fraud in Palm City wills, the interested party will need evidence regarding fraudulent inducement or similar impropriety. It can take time to collect and prepare evidence, so it is wise to begin working on a fraud claim as soon as possible. Assistance from experienced legal counsel may prove exceedingly helpful. To get started, call today.