It is easy for family members to feel out of sorts after the passing of a loved one. There are many emotions to work through and some legal matters to address, and it can be difficult to keep everything clear. However, if you find out that information in your loved one’s will has changed since you last heard about it, you may wonder if some wrongdoing has occurred.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know whether a will is fraudulent or if someone unduly influenced a loved one to change his or her will before passing. If you believe that something suspicious has taken place, going over the document may be wise.
Signs of a forgery
In some cases, individuals who attempt to submit a forged or fraudulent document as the real thing do not always pay attention to important details. As a result, if you notice any of the following issues in your loved one’s will, you may have reason to suspect it is a fake:
- Inconsistent formatting: It is possible that someone trying to pass off a fake document will have scanned the original into a computer and digitally made changes. It is not unusual for such actions to cause distortions in the formatting, like areas that are blurry or certain text that looks slightly different than the majority of the text.
- Obvious errors: It is also common for amateur forgers to make obvious mistakes when trying to change a document. These errors could include spelling mistakes, inconsistencies within the document or incorrect information.
- Check against other documents: It is possible for a loved one to have left a copy of an original will with a trusted person, like an attorney or family member. If so, you may be able to compare the copy of the document in question to an original or previous version.
Though these steps may seem easy, it is difficult to spot and prove that a will is not a valid document. Part of the probate process is submitting the will to the court for validation, and if any obvious errors exist, it is likely that the court will assess those concerns.
Of course, you may have concerns before the will goes to court for validation simply due to actions by other parties in your family or even outside your family. If so, you may want to discuss the matter with an experienced California attorney. This legal professional can help explain what constitutes an invalid will and your options regarding contesting the will if you believe it necessary.