Houston Lawyers for Will Contests Based Upon Fraud
Fraud in the execution of a Will is not uncommon and, if proven, can be used in probate litigation to have Will declared invalid in a Will Contest lawsuit.
Fraud involves a deliberate misrepresentation which results in the signing of a will. When a testator falls victim to fraud in the creation of a will, he or she relied upon a misrepresentation and would not have made the will if the misrepresentation had not been presented to him or her.
There are two types of fraud; “fraud in the inducement” and “fraud in the execution”.
Fraudulent inducement involves the intentional misrepresentation of facts that a testator relied upon in the modification, revocation, or execution of a Will. When a testator relies upon a misrepresentation of facts in choosing to modify, revoke, or execute a will, the will is a product of fraudulent inducement and is thus invalid. The testator must have relied upon the facts when he or she decided to create the will. In other words, the specific misrepresentation must be the cause of the testator’s action.
- Example: Culprit A tells his father, Testator B, to bequeath his expensive car to him. After Testator B refuses to do so, A tells him that his siblings all already own cars, even though they do not. Acting in reliance on A’s statement, B modifies his will so that A will inherit the car. A dies. Because B relied upon A’s representation (that his siblings all own cars), the will is declared invalid because it is a product of fraudulent inducement.
Fraud in the Execution
Fraud in the execution involves the intentional misrepresentation of the character or contents of a signed Will. Frequently, this cause of action involves a culprit intentionally misrepresenting documents which the testator relied upon when signing or modifying a will. In other words, a testator signs a will when she thinks she is signing something else.
- Example: Culprit A presents a document to Testator B and represents the document to be a cable bill. In reality, the document is a will bequeathing a large amount of B’s estate to A. B signs the document. B has fallen victim to fraud in the execution because she did not know that the document she was signing was a will.
If somebody changes their Will due to the fraudulent activity of another, the beneficiaries under the old Will have the ability to ask the probate court do declare the new Will void and the old Will will then be used to distribute the dead person’s estate.
Have you lost out on inheritance because somebody tricked your loved one, friend, relative or another to change their Last Will and Testament? If so, contact the Will Contest Lawyers at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. today.