Declaring a will to be invalid based on fraud is a complex endeavor. Although it is fairly common for one or more parties to be unhappy with the directives in a Will, this area of law has a very specific definition for fraud. Unless you can prove that someone’s actions meet all the legal criteria, it may be difficult to obtain the outcome you want from your claim.
A qualified estate planning lawyer could offer useful clarification about what fraud in Cary Wills looks like, as well as how state courts treat these types of allegations. Seeking guidance from a legal professional could put you in a much better position to take effective action against the fraudulent behavior.
To justify a lawsuit for Will fraud, it is not enough to claim that an executor acted against a testator’s unwritten wishes or that a beneficiary manipulated a testator to suit their own desires. A valid case requires a plaintiff to prove that all the following criteria apply to the person who allegedly engaged in fraud:
Importantly, all of these elements must be present to legally constitute fraud. For example, say a beneficiary lies to a testator in an attempt to get a greater share of their inheritance. If the testator did not end up making any material changes to their will as a result, the beneficiary would not be guilty of fraud even if that was their intent. These types of scenarios can be complex, so it is important to consult a skilled legal advisor if you suspect fraud in a Cary Will.
Anyone who could gain or lose something of value based on the validity or interpretation of a Will has grounds to file suit if they believe they are directly impacted by another person’s fraudulent actions. However, if a Will has what is known as a “no contest” clause, any beneficiary who challenges it unsuccessfully may end up losing whatever assets they were supposed to receive. Accordingly, it is crucial to enlist the help of a persistent attorney to collect as much evidence of fraudulent activity as possible before filing suit.
If a Will fraud claim is successful, the probate court has the authority to invalidate whatever portion of the document was impacted by fraud. In some cases, this could include the entire Will. Afterward, the court would apply intestate succession rules in accordance with North Carolina state law to determine who gets what assets.
Contesting Will fraud can be a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. Ensuring that your loved one’s wishes are respected is often worth the effort, but presenting a weak case could result in you losing your share of the inheritance.
No matter the circumstances, working with seasoned legal counsel could be crucial in achieving a positive outcome. If you suspect fraud in a Cary Will, discuss your situation with a hardworking legal team. Call today to schedule an initial strategy meeting.