What if someone signed a will, pretending to be you? What if you made a will but did not have the legal capacity to do so? These are two important questions we will discuss in today’s article, following on from our previous articles on safeguarding your will from claims and how to make a family provision claim.
Fraudulent Signing of a Will and other Warning Signs of Fraud
A will may be fraudulent or forged if any of the following signs are present:
- The original will has been destroyed.
- The signature of the will is not that of the Testator.
- When the will wasn’t signed in the presence of witnesses.
- If there is a suspicion that the deceased person was tricked into signing a will they otherwise would not have signed.
- If the Deceased was dependent on a caregiver for many areas of their life.
- If the Deceased had a caregiver and suddenly everything has been handed over to them.
- No legal expert has presided over the will in question; it was a ‘do it yourself’ type of will.
- If the will was suddenly altered while the Deceased was in hospital
What to Do
It can be notoriously difficult to prove will forgery or fraud of a will in court. It is always best practice therefore, for lawyers such as those at Quinn’s to check the required ID documents such as a passport and Driver’s Licence before accepting instructions to draft a will on a person’s behalf.
Incapacity – What if you lack Legal and Mental Capacity?
To make a will, you must have mental and legal capacity to do so. What this means, is that you must understand what you are doing in making a will, be able to understand and read the will and not have any impediment that may affect such understanding; such as dementia, a mental illness or impaired cognition. You must also have legal capability to make a will; which means in most circumstances (with exceptions) you must be at least 18 years old.
If you are later found to have lacked capacity to sign or make a will, your will may be regarded as invalid. People may contest your will on these grounds and have it legally deemed irrelevant.
If you need assistance in relation to wills and estates or would like further information in this area, please feel free to contact our team of experienced probate, wills and estates lawyers by clicking here to submit an online enquiry or by calling our office on 1300 QUINNS. You can also download a free copy of our Wills and Estates book via our website.