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Trust and Estates Attorneys

Fraud in DC Wills

Fraud is demonstrated in a number of ways depending on the fraud being alleged. When someone alleges the signature on the will is not actually the signature of the testator, a DC wills attorney brings in witnesses or witness affidavits to say they witnessed the actual testator signing the document. Whatever is alleged to be wrong with the will or the estate plan determines what method is used to prove that fraud. An allegation of fraud is often brought to the attention of the court by someone contesting the validity of the last will and testament.

Fraud v. Undue Influence

Fraud is different from undue influence because with fraud, a testator signs a will based on some intentional misrepresentation of fact perpetrated by the fraudulent party, which results in a benefit of the perpetrator of the fraud.

Fraud in the Execution

Fraud in the execution is, generally, when someone purports a document to be the last will and testament of a testator which is not. For example, if an individual created and executed a will on someone else’s behalf and forged the testator’s signature. That will wouldn’t be recognized as legitimate.

How Mistakes Impact Last Will and Testaments in DC

The level of the mistake dictates the repercussion. There may be a number that is incorrect, or a paragraph heading, or a name was misspelled. Often mistakes can be remedied by having an affidavit for scrivener’s error. If the original attorney or the original person who drafted the document can be located, they can say it was a scrivener’s error in creating the last will and testament. A DC wills attorney’s notes may indicate the will was supposed to say paragraph A and instead it recited paragraph C. If the mistakes are larger in the will, the repercussions change. Typically, a petition to the court can be made to interpret those documents or to provide a plan for distribution where the document is lacking something.

How a DC Wills Lawyer Can Help

It is important when hiring a DC wills attorney to work with one who has a great deal of experience doing estates and trust administration. Often these issues or pitfalls can be avoided by using somebody who with experience administering trusts and estates throughout their career. There are some common ways an attorney can ensure the witnesses are independent, that the attestation clause is correct. An attorney may keep notes if competency or capacity is an issue about what they used to determine those factors. There are many practical ways an attorney can assist to minimize complications in the acceptance of a last will and testament.

Legitimizing a Holographic or Oral Will

The nature of a holographic will is that it must be in the sole writing of the testator. It’s really a question for the court to determine whether it meets all of the necessities of being a will. For example, if someone writes in their will they leave all of their assets to John Doe, but didn’t sign it or didn’t recite that it was their last will and testament, the court can reject it. There are different issues why the court can reject the holographic will. There’s really nothing an attorney can do after somebody has passed away to correct a holographic will. A wills attorney in DC can assist draft a non-holographic to avoid the concern of having a valid last will and testament. If someone dies without a last will and testament, an attorney can help you administer the estate according to the laws of intestacy.