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Probate litigation: Woman charged after creating fraudulent will

The time after a person's passing can often see conflicts over remaining assets. Even if New York residents took the time to create estate plans, some unscrupulous parties could take steps in attempts to unjustly benefit from remaining estates. As a result, probate litigation may occur in order to address the possibility of fraud.

It was recently reported that fraud played a role in a dispute regarding an estate in another state. Apparently, a 66-year-old woman had utilized a mail fraud scam in attempts to benefit from her employer's estate. The woman had sent a codicil to a state university and made it appear to relate to the decedent's will. The woman's fraudulent document indicated that the man's estate would be divided three ways with one-fourth of the estate going to the university, one-fourth going to his attorney and half going to the woman.

In reality, the man had left most of his estate to the university. It was unclear how the fraudulent nature of the document was discovered. Nonetheless, this situation not only caused probate issues but also resulted in the woman facing criminal charges for mail fraud, to which she pleaded guilty.

Fraudulent documents, undue influence and other actions can easily bring the validity of a will into question. When surviving family members or other beneficiaries have concerns over the contents of a will, it is not uncommon for probate litigation to take place. If New York residents believe that issues exist with a will and that contesting the document is warranted, they may want to discuss the process with their legal counsel.

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