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  • Writer's pictureJerry Ipsen, CFE, MBA

Fraudulent Misrepresentation in Probate

A fraudulent misrepresentation in most cases is a false statement made with the intention to induce someone else to do something. In probate, fraudulently persuading someone to make or change a will is wrong and, in most cases, is still considered a civil matter.

In order to prove the fraud, the person alleging fraud must prove certain elements:

  • The perpetrator of the fraud made a misrepresentation of fact that was material to the transaction. A false statement for example would be a person trying to get an elderly relative to change their will might falsely state, “Your nephew said he wished you were dead so he could get all your money.” Such a statement might make the relative want to change their estate plan. The false statement is considered material.

  • The perpetrator of the fraud knew the statement was false.

  • The perpetration of the fraud made the misrepresentation of fact with the intention of persuading the hearer (in this case, an elderly relative) to take a certain action, e.g. change their will.

  • The victim of the fraud "relied on the misrepresentation."

  • Absent the misrepresentation, the elderly victim of the fraud would not have taken the action. In the example above, the elderly relative would not have disinherited the nephew's brother had they not been told, and relied on, the lie about what the nephew allegedly said.

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