Contesting a Will by Proving Fraud

You might be surprised to learn that if you read a loved one’s estate planning documents and they seem “off,” it could be because they are fraudulent. All too often, the elderly fall victim to scams or con artists taking advantage of them. If fraud occurred in the creation or amendment of your loved one’s Will or other estate planning documents, a beneficiary or heir may have grounds to lodge an objection to the validity of the estate plan.

Proving fraud when challenging a Utah will requires you to be able to submit substantial evidence that fraud occurred. Thus, if you suspect your loved one was the victim of fraud, it is imperative that you confer with a knowledgeable attorney to help you understand your legal rights.

One of the first issues to be determined is whether you have “standing” to file an objection to the will. If you are an heir that stands to inherit from the deceased under the law (if the deceased had died without a will) or a named beneficiary, you have standing.

Another issue to address is whether you can prove that your loved one’s will would have read differently, had the fraud not occurred. In other words, you must show that your inheritance was negatively impacted by the fraud. You must also be able to prove that the deceased relied on the fraud or misrepresentation when the will was created. We can assist you with establishing that the deceased would not have executed the will had he or she been aware of the fraud.

Finally, you must provide evidence to the court that the person that committed the fraudulent conduct did so intentionally. This is often demonstrated by the fraud resulting in the fraudster inheriting money or property from the deceased.

A valuable and persuasive piece of evidence in contesting a will is to submit a copy of the prior estate planning documents signed by the deceased. Additionally, any proof of the deceased’s state of mind at the time the will was executed can be helpful.

If you are considering objecting to a loved one’s will, we can help. The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.