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  • Writer's pictureJerry Ipsen, CFE, MBA

When the Probate Process Takes a Wrong Turn

During the probate of an estate, fraud can happen at any stage. Unless one’s paying attention, estate assets can be lost permanently. If you suspect that the executor or other party to an estate is committing fraud, you may want to contact a probate lawyer immediately for guidance.

When fraud happens in the early stages of probate, such as immediately after the death of a loved one, the committed fraud often takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Someone hides or suppresses the latest version of the will to benefit himself or another party and you thought that specific family member had been written out.

  • Someone forges a new will or codicil and alleges that it is a valid version of the document.  You didn’t see that one coming!

  • The executor deliberately omits relatives during the probation initiation in the case of intestacy and you thought you were the favorite?

  • Someone removes assets (such as cash from the safe, jewelry or even furniture) from the estate without permission or notification.  This one happens the most often!

As an interested party, you are entitled to receive a certain amount of notice about actions that are taken during the probate process. Catching fraudulent activity, however, requires diligence, and active awareness on your part. Ipsen Due Diligence helps family members and attorneys when wrongful activity is suspected.

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