Forgery of a Will in Florida Estate Litigation
When a family member passes away, and his or her will is read, family disputes sometimes occur. Maybe you suspect that the testator who created the will was under undue influence. In some cases, family members might even suspect that the will is a forgery.
Perhaps the will is out of line with the character of the deceased, and you question whether or not someone forged the signature. If you can demonstrate that someone wrote, signed, or modified the testator’s will without his consent or knowledge, the probate court will invalidate the will.
Submit Your Objection to the Validity of the Will
If you would like to challenge the will, it is wise to hire a skilled Florida estate litigation attorney. You will need to file a written objection to the will. You will only have three months to submit your complaint after you’ve received the notice of the administration of the will. The Florida probate court is not very forgiving if you miss the three-month deadline. Even if you’re out of town or didn’t get the notice until late into the three months, the court will likely hold you to the deadline.
Submit Evidence In Support of Your Forgery Claim
Next, you will need to submit evidence to the probate court that supports your claim that the signature on the will was forged. Who helped the deceased prepare the will? Who witnessed the signing of the will? Where do the witnesses live? Who notarized the will? Researching these issues, along with your attorney, will help you discover the truth of what happened.
A skilled probate attorney will depose the witnesses to the signing of the will and the notary. Your attorney will ask pointed questions to get to the bottom of what actually happened that day. Perhaps the notary notarized the signature when he didn’t actually witness the will being signed. If so, he’d be guilty of a third-degree felony in Florida. A skilled attorney can “impeach” the witnesses by catching them in the middle of a falsehood. This discredits their claim and makes it more likely that you will succeed in proving forgery.
Procure a Handwriting Expert
If you do decide to head to trial to contest the will, a handwriting expert will be able to give the court his or her expert opinion. We recommend hiring someone who is board certified by the Board of Forensic Document Examiners (BFDE). Handwriting experts will use their skills to demonstrate that the will was indeed forged if it was forged.
Contact Us About Your Estate Litigation Claim Today
The probate court will determine that a will is forged if you can demonstrate that someone other than the testator modified or created the will without the testator’s consent or knowledge. If you suspect that the signature on your loved one’s will was forged, we are here to help. Pompano Beach beneficiary dispute attorney Mark R. Manceri has over 30 years of experience representing clients in will contestations. Contact us to set up your consultation today.