What Types of Fraud Exist in a Will? | Rubén J. Padrón, PA

What Types of Fraud Exist in a Will?

December 20, 2022

You might have to do estate planning for a relative or loved one. If so, you need to know about some fraudulent activities in estate planning processes. Here’s some information about fraud in estate planning and several things you can do to prevent it. 

Believe it or not, a lot of fraud happens during various estate planning processes. These are some of the events that can occur if a non-trustworthy person is left to handle the estate:

Lying To an Incapacitated Person

Lying to someone who is disabled or mentally incompetent is one way some people commit estate fraud. An example of this deception would be telling someone with Alzheimer’s that she needs to leave everything to the estate planner because all beneficiaries are deceased. This might sound like a cruel tactic, but it’s not unheard of for crooked estate planners to lie in this heinous way. 

Hiding Assets

Another way someone could commit estate fraud is by hiding some of the assets from the client. A client deserves to know exactly what they have in the estate and how much it’s worth. Hiding any part of the estate is a criminal act that can be handled by the prosecution. 

Selling Assets

A shady estate planner may sell or attempt to sell part of a client’s estate. This is a highly fraudulent act that happens way more than it should. 

Failing To Properly Notify a Beneficiary

Another unorthodox thing people do is fail to notify beneficiaries of any funds or properties they’ve recently become eligible to own. Estate planners who omit this information sometimes try to gain the properties themselves.  

How To Tell Probate Fraud Is Happenings

These are some ways you can tell if someone is committing or attempting to commit probate fraud:

You Have a Gut Feeling

Probate fraud suspicion in your gut is one of the first signs you’ll experience if someone tries to do something to your estate. Always go with your gut feeling; if it feels wrong, it usually is. 

Things Don’t Add Up

You can have an idea that something is not quite right if there is missing paperwork or a lack of documentation that you need to understand a process. Missing paperwork is often a sign of shady business going on. 

Your Estate Planner Stumbles

Someone who isn’t being honest with you will usually show their untrustworthiness by stumbling on their words. The individual may stutter, pause between words, or become agitated when you ask for information regarding what you think they are being dishonest about.

Alternatively, this person might speak very loudly to you instead. Either way, you’ll know something shady is going on. 

If you feel your estate planner needs to be more trustworthy, you do not have to let this person work for you. You can dismiss them and find someone else to help you and your family members. Take action as soon as possible to get back on the right track with your estate planning efforts. 

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