Trial of High Profile Will Contest Case
Recent news carried the story of a major will contest trial. An article which recently went viral perfectly exemplifies how wills are often forged. Girish Patel, a London accountant, is the estranged son of wealthy parents. Before his mother passed away, she created a will leaving her entire company to Patel’s brother, Yashwant. Having knowledge of this, Patel forged her will to bequeath him her shares in the company, which amounted to almost $67,000,000 USD.
How was the fraud committed?
He committed the forgery by getting her dying mother to sign a blank piece of paper. After she signed the paper, Patel constructed a will around the signature in order to make it appear that she willingly signed the will. This was proven by analyzing the fraudulent will under a microscope, which revealed traces of ink on top of the signature but none underneath. The court deduced that this indicated the signature came before the body of the will was even printed onto the page. The judge also found that, “The impression of another signature of the deceased on the same paper in close proximity to her actual signature is consistent with her having pre-signed a number of blank sheets, one on top of the other.”
Even though this happened in England, Patel’s case shares similar legal concepts to American cases of similar nature due to the fact that American law is rooted in English law. This story perfectly exemplifies fraud in the execution, which involves the intentional misrepresentation of the character or contents of a signed will. Because Patel’s dying mother did not know what she was signing, she fell victim to fraud.
Forced to pay legal fees
When the High Court in London found that Patel had forged the will, he was forced to pay legal fees totaling $1,700,000. The court also held the original will to be valid, and Yashwant was bequeathed the company according to his mother’s last wishes. Even though this case involved an extreme amount of money, the exact same scenario arises time and time again, regardless of the size of the estate.
If you believe your loved one was taken advantage of in a similar fashion, it is necessary to hire an attorney to dispute the will and invalidate it. Michael P. Fleming & Associates is experienced in this type of conflict, and has the expertise to handle numerous types of will contests.