Detecting Probate Fraud
Committing probate fraud is one of the lowest and most contemptible things an individual can do.
By taking advantage of an individual who has passed away or is close to passing away, the unscrupulous individual helps themselves to money, assets and personal items that were never meant for them.
Fortunately, if someone is committing probate fraud or attempting to scam someone close to you, there are signs that you can look for.
If you do have suspicions, it is usually best to look into the matter discreetly, without making your suspicions widely known. There could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for the signs that you perceive.
However, if you are left with no doubt that probate fraud is being committed, a probate solicitor could help you straighten the matters out.
Likely Suspects of Probate Fraud
Carers often work with people who are at the most vulnerable time of their adult lives – this is a great deal of responsibility to put on the shoulders of a carer, and there have been cases in which a carer has taken advantage of this responsibility.
A carer could pressure an elderly or very ill person into adjusting their Will to add the carer to the list of beneficiaries. This is certainly not common behaviour, but it can happen.
A probate solicitor or specialist is in a prime position to commit probate fraud, particularly one who has been hired to undertake all of the tasks of executing the Will.
It is the solicitor’s job to understand the rules around probate – and as they say, only when you completely understand the rules can you truly break them.
Their power over the estate can allow them to take what they want, and their specialist knowledge can help them to cover their tracks.
The relative or relatives who have been tasked with executing the estate are in a similar position to a probate solicitor, given their absolute power over the assets and estate of the deceased.
However, the motives of a relative for committing probate fraud may be more complex than those of an unscrupulous solicitor.
A relative committing probate fraud may have simple financial gain in mind – however, they may be acting to spite another family member or another beneficiary listed in the Will, due to personal grievances.
How to Act on Suspected Probate Fraud
Before you do anything rash, make sure you have as much evidence of probate fraud as possible. A common sign of probate fraud is an abrupt change in the Will just prior to death – try and gather any previous Wills, Will notes, or even the Will of a deceased spouse or partner.
You could also look into who witnessed the signing of the Will, as well as where the Will was signed and where it was executed.