Austin Fraudulent Will Contest Lawyers
Dealing with a loved one’s death is an emotionally trying experience. The situation can become even more challenging when you discover that something is wrong with your loved one’s will, and you have good reason to believe that it is fraudulent. For instance, the will may have been changed shortly before your loved one’s death, or it may exclude you and certain other family members for no clear reason.
During this difficult time, you can turn to the experienced and caring probate litigation attorneys of Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., for the skillful legal guidance and representation that you need. We can review your case in a free consultation and work with you to develop a solid legal strategy that challenges the validity of the will. We assist clients with will contests in Austin and throughout Texas. We can start work on your case right away. Contact us now to discuss your case.
What Makes a Will a ‘Fraudulent’ One?
A testator is the person who creates a will. The will should reflect the testator’s wishes for the distribution of his or her assets upon death. However, in some cases, the testator may create, change, execute or revoke a will due to someone else’s intentional misrepresentation of facts, or fraud. Often, the perpetrator is someone who has gained and taken advantage of a position of trust with the testator such as a family member, friend, charity worker or nursing home staff member. If fraud has occurred, the testator’s will may be deemed invalid.
The two types of fraud which most commonly occur in the creation and execution of wills are:
- Fraudulent inducement – When someone misrepresents facts that a testator relies on when creating, modifying or executing a will. The misrepresentation must cause the testator’s actions. For instance, someone may convince a testator that a certain organization is a viable non-profit that provides important services for the community. Relying on those facts, the testator may create or modify a will in order to leave a share or all assets in the testator’s estate to that organization. However, in reality, the organization may be a sham.
- Fraud in the execution – When someone deliberately misrepresents the contents of a will or the character of a document in order to convince the testator to sign it. For example, a person may tell the testator that the will which he or she is signing leaves all of his or her estate to the testator’s children. In reality, the will leaves everything to the person or to a certain organization. In some cases, a person may trick the testator into signing a will by pretending that it is another type of document.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia as they grow older. Some people try to take advantage of people who are in this highly vulnerable state and get them to create, modify, revoke, execute or take other actions with their wills which they would not have otherwise taken. If you have suffered harm due to this type of conduct, you owe it to yourself to get help from a lawyer with the skill and experience to contest a fraudulent will.
How Can You Challenge a Fraudulent Will in Austin?
Before you make the decision to contest a will due to fraud in Austin, you should ask yourself two important questions:
- What assets are at stake? A will contest may involve an extensive investigation and lengthy legal battle. You may want to consider whether the assets at issue are considerable or relatively minimal before you enter this process.
- Do you have standing? In order to challenge a will, you must be one who would benefit if a probate court declares the will to be invalid. In other words, you must be one who would have inherited assets in a will before the testator created a new one or changed the will, or you must be one who is eligible to inherit assets through Texas’ intestate succession laws.
If you decide to move forward with the will contest, you should work with an experienced attorney at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. The attorney can thoroughly investigate your case and, if warranted, file a petition on your behalf. You should keep in mind that you generally must file a will contest petition within two years from the date of the will being admitted to probate. However, if you contest a will on the basis of fraud, you will have two years from the date of learning of the fraud.
How Can an Austin Probate Lawyer Help You?
At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., we will conduct a comprehensive investigation of your fraudulent will claim in Austin. Our investigation may include interviewing multiple witnesses and consulting with experts who can help us to determine whether fraud occurred in the creation, modification or execution of your loved one’s will. We can also take care of all paperwork that goes into filing a petition in probate court in order to contest the validity of the will, and we can aggressively represent you in any hearings that take place.
In reality, many will contests get resolved through mediation, including those which involve alleged fraud. We are highly skilled negotiators who will work hard to reach a settlement that meets the goals of you and your loved ones. However, we will be fully prepared to go to trial if that’s what it takes in order to protect your inheritance rights.
Our law firm handles will contest cases on a “no-win, no fee” percentage basis. In other words, we will not charge any fees for our legal services unless we successfully challenge the validity of your loved one’s will.
Get Help from Our Austin Fraudulent Will Contest Attorneys
The experienced and dedicated will contest attorneys at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., help families in Austin and throughout Texas who believe they have suffered financial harm due to a loved one’s fraudulent will. To discuss how we can assist you, call or reach us online today. Our consultations are free and completely confidential.