When Pennsylvania residents pass away and leave wills, one or more of the interested parties might challenge the wills. Courts generally do not accept will challenges because they view the wills as the final words and wishes of the testators. However, there are several valid grounds for challenging a will, including one that was procured by fraud.
When is a will procured by fraud?
A will is considered to be procured by fraud when the testator was deceived into signing it. For example, the person might be presented with a document and told that it is something else when it is actually a will. Since he or she had no knowledge of what he or she was signing, the will was procured by fraud. Proving that a will was procured by fraud can be difficult since the testator will not be able to testify about his or her intent. However, a person who signed a fraudulent will might also have lacked the capacity to create a will at the time it was signed. For instance, if the person had dementia or some other type of incapacity at the time of the will’s signing, it can be challenged. In some cases, the witnesses to the will and testament will not provide testimony that supports the validity of the document.
Proving a will was procured by fraud
Contesting a will on the basis of fraud can be difficult since the testator is not present to testify about his or her intentions. It might be easier to contest the will on another basis such as undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, or failing to meet the state’s requirements.
People who believe that their loved one’s will is fraudulent might want to talk to an experienced estate litigation attorney. A lawyer might discuss the circumstances and explain whether a will challenge is likely to succeed. An attorney might also find other issues with the will and help a client to challenge it on a different ground.