How To Spot A Forged Will And Challenge It?
When a loved one passes away, the last thing that their family members want to worry about is if the will they are presented with is legitimate. Unfortunately, forged wills happen far too often.
The Pompano Beach estate & trust litigation lawyer at Mark R. Manceri, P.A., can explain how to spot a forged will and provide a step-by-step guide on how to challenge a forged or otherwise fraudulent will in Florida.
What Are the Requirements for a Valid Will in Florida?
If any of the following requirements are not met, a will is not valid in Florida:
- The will must be in writing
- The testator is of sound mind at the time of writing and signing the document
- The testator’s signing of the will was witnessed by at least two competent individuals
- There must be a signature at the bottom of the document
These requirements can be found in Florida Statutes § 732.502. Although Florida law does not specifically require the will to be notarized to be valid, notarizing the will can help speed up the probate process after the testator’s death and minimize the likelihood of will contests later on.
How to Spot a Forged Will
The first step in determining whether or not a will is valid is by taking note of any inconsistencies between the signature of the deceased on the document and previous examples of their signature. It’s also important to look out for unexplained alterations or erasures, as they could be evidence of tampering with the document. Additionally, if there are multiple witnesses present who do not know each other, this could be an indication that someone has tampered with the document in order to make it appear legitimate when it isn’t.
How to Challenge a Forged Will in Florida?
If you suspect that the will presented to you was forged or otherwise fraudulent, there are certain steps that must be taken in order to challenge it legally.
- First and foremost, you must contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you make sure all legal paperwork is filed correctly.
- Your attorney can subpoena documents from banks and other entities related to your case, as well as call upon experts such as handwriting analysts who can help authenticate or discredit the will in question.
- Once all evidence has been gathered, it must then be presented before a probate court judge for review before any action can be taken against those responsible for forging the document.
Fraudulent wills have become increasingly common over time. However, by understanding how to spot a forged document and following through on challenging it properly with an experienced estate attorney at your side, you can ensure that justice is served and that your family’s rights are protected.
Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A., for Legal Assistance
If you have reason to believe that a will presented to you recently may have been forged or otherwise manipulated, contact an experienced estate lawyer today who can help you navigate this difficult situation. Schedule a case evaluation with Mark R. Manceri, Attorney at Law, today to assess your loved one’s will and help you understand whether or not it was forged. Call 954-491-7099.