Contesting a Will on the Grounds of Fraud
One of the grounds upon which you can contest a will is fraud. If you suspect that a will was written through fraud, it is easy to invalidate it if you have sufficient proof. The following paper will discuss fraud and how you can prove fraud when contesting a will.
What is Fraud?
To qualify as fraud, you need to show that a beneficiary to the will made a false utterance to the testator (the one who drafted the will) causing them to change the contents of the will in favour of the beneficiary. For a fraud claim to be successful, the testator should have changed his will because of the false statement. A plain lie to the testator is not sufficient to show fraud if the testator never allocated the liar a larger share of their estate based on the false statement. Fraud can also not be deemed to have occurred if the testator believed the liar’s false statement but altered his will for another reason that was unrelated to the lie.
Who Can Sue?
Anyone has the right to contest a will on the grounds of fraud if they have standing. Standing means that you are a person of interest or someone who will be affected in one way or the other if the will is allowed to pass. Many claims for fraud are brought by a deceased parent’s adult children who suspect that their sibling lied to get a bigger share in the will.
If it is decided that a part of or the whole will was fraudulently created, the portion that was created fraudulently will be treated as though it never existed. If the whole will was created out of fraud, then it will be invalidated. When a will is invalidated, the court applies the rules of intestate succession to distribute the property. The rules of intestate succession are a fair way of allocating the property of a person who dies without writing a will. These regulations favour children and spouses. However, if the deceased has no survivors or relatives, the property remains with the state.
If you contest a will on the grounds of fraud, you are likely to lose your claim on the estate if you lose the contest. This rule applies to wills that have a “no contest” clause. This clause discourages beneficiaries from contesting the will. Before you consider contesting a will on the basis of fraud, you should consult a lawyer to determine whether it is worth the risk.