Three people in Ohio were recently convicted on multiple charges related to a scheme associated with creating and probating a fake will that left the entirety of a $2.2 million estate to a beneficiary and revoked an earlier will the deceased person had executed in 1993. In an additional twist, the person who forged the deceased individual’s signature on the fraudulent will acted as a government information after his request for $50,000 to remain silent was denied.
This plot was discovered following a series of 171 withdrawals for less than $10,000 which caught the attention of the Internal Revenue Service. A trial resulted which saw forensic witnesses who examined the signature on the will. As a result of this conviction, the three individuals will not face jail time.
The Overwhelming Rate at which Estate Planning Fraud Occurs
A recent study by AARP reveals that over half of financial fraud victims in the United States are over the age of 70. Estate planning fraud is a type of activity that harms a countless number of older individuals.
Most often, fraud in estate planning involves people who sell estate planning documents that are not customized to meet a person’s specific needs, which can end up creating a number of substantial estate planning obstacles.
Detecting the Signs of Estate Planning Fraud
One of the best ways to avoid estate planning fraud is to retain the assistance of an experienced and reputable attorney. Attempting to resolve estate planning issues on a person’s own greatly increases that a person will end up vulnerable to fraud.
It is also a wise idea that senior citizens protect themselves against estate planning by noticing common signs that fraud is occuring, which can include a person who is selling an estate planning not actually being a licensed attorney.
In many cases, people who commit estate planning fraud use scare tactics to convince people to purchase an estate plan.
Protect Yourself from Will Fraud
In some cases, it is not a person attempting to sell an estate plan who commits fraud, it is someone you know and love. A person who is listed as an executor in an estate planning document is at much greater risk of committing estate planning. In many cases, disputes among family members or family members who are not satisfied with an estate plan greatly increase the chances that fraud will occur.
One of the most common signs that fraud is occurring is if there are unexplained or sudden changes to a loved one’s will or other estate planning documents. It is also important to consider whether any changes in a loved one’s life could lead to a person being taken advantage of and having their estate plan changed.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
One of the best ways to avoid having your estate exposed to estate planning fraud is to obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer. Contact Ettinger Estate Planning today to schedule a free initial consultation.