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Fraud

Overview

In probate litigation, fraud is the misrepresentation of material facts to a Testator, in which the person committing fraud wants the Testator to rely upon such facts to determine what the will disposes of. The Testator relies on the misstated facts as being true and includes or excludes provisions to benefit the defrauder. Fraud can invalidate the entire document or just certain provisions of the document. There are two (2) types of fraud concerning a will: Fraud in the Execution and Fraud in the Inducement. Fraud in the execution of the will occurs when the document has been switched or deliberately altered. It can also occur when the Testator is misled as to the type of document the Testator is signing. For example, the Testator may believe he/she is signing a real estate contract, when, in reality, the Testator is signing a will. The intent to deceive is what distinguishes fraud from a mistake. When a Testator is fraudulently induced into signing a will, the entire will is invalid. Fraud in the inducement is when someone lied about facts to alter a certain provision of the will. A will or portion is void if its execution is procured by fraud. If you are contesting a will for fraud, you have the burden to prove that there was, in fact, fraud.