The passing of a loved one precedes a period filled with confusion. In most cases, families will forget the assets left behind by the deceased until after the funeral. This leaves them vulnerable to several forms of fraud that will see them lose their inheritance. It might not be possible to handle all aspects related to assets when mourning. As such, it is best to call a lawyer immediately after the demise of your loved one to manage them.
The best choice is a lawyer who handles wills in Townsville, whether or not your loved one had a valid will in place. The lawyer will start tying all the loopholes that someone might take advantage of to fleece you of your inheritance. In the past, most disputes in probate court involved the division of property. Nowadays, fraud is among the most common issues handled here. Here are the common forms of probate fraud you might deal with after a loved one’s death:
Suspicious Contact after Death
You might receive suspicious communication just after your loved one has passed. In most cases, these official-looking faxes, letters, and emails claim that a deceased owes back taxes or probate-related fees. Some fraudsters also ask an estate’s beneficiary or executor to release funds for payment of something before they are allowed to access the estate. Without a lawyer to check into the legitimacy of the letters, you might be intimidated into making fictitious payments.
In the midst of funeral arrangements, fraudsters might move money from the deceased’s accounts into other accounts. Others will take loans on a deceased’s account and leave you repaying a loan that never existed. An executor is meant to gather all the deceased’s financial documents, including debit and credit cards. Even so, this is, at times, overwhelming and leaves room for fraudsters to exploit.
Hiding of Valid Wills
Sometimes, the person in charge of the will hides the valid one and attempts to pass another as the valid one. The forged one, in most cases, represents the interests of another. In other cases, the will is hidden so that the estate is divided according to a state’s probate laws if the valid did not favor some people. If you are sure that there was a will in place, your lawyer can have investigators to get it or prove that the defendants, in your case, tampered with it.
The Deliberate Omission of Heirs from the Probate Process
If someone dies intestate, their estate will go through probate to divide it. Sometimes, however, potential heirs to an estate are deliberately omitted from the proceedings by others. Without an attorney, it is hard to follow the probate process since it is often lengthy. You might be left out of the division by the courts.
The above information might have you believe that probate fraud is easy to detect. It, however, is the most challenging form of deception to identify and prove. It requires diligence and resources such as those a law firm has to pick them and intervene in time.