People are cheated out of an inheritance more often than you might suspect. It can happen while your loved one is still living or after he or she is deceased. If someone has cheated you out of your inheritance, you don’t have to take it lying down. Find out from an experienced probate litigation attorney what legal remedies are available to you.
Cheating others out of an inheritance, particularly among siblings, is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence today. Inheritance disputes are on the rise in the U.S. due to several factors, including:
- Tough economic times and the resulting financial stress
- Divorce and complex family structures with more potential beneficiaries
- Do-it-yourself wills that may be invalid because of errors
- Lack of mental capacity in an aging population
How Could I Be Cheated Out of an Inheritance?
A family member or other person could act to cheat you out your inheritance while your loved one is still living in a number of unscrupulous ways, including:
- Will Fraud: You parent or loved one could unintentionally sign a will, having been handed a document and assured it was something else. You loved one’s signature could also be forged on a will.
- Undue Influence: A caretaker or family member could pressure, coerce, or persuade your parent or loved one to make a new will or change an existing will. This happens more frequently with caretakers who have control over an elderly person’s assets, decisions, and day-to-day life.
- Lack of Capacity: Elderly people often suffer from diseases and physical conditions that cause diminished mental capacity, and that makes them more susceptible to manipulation. An unscrupulous person might manipulate your loved one into signing a will benefiting that person and leaving you out.
- False Reports: A family member or other person who was trying to influence your loved one against you might tell outright lies about you and convince your loved one to cut you out of the will.
You could also be cheated out of your inheritance after your loved one is deceased. If another family member was appointed trustee or executor of your loved one’s estate, that person has control over the assets and the authority to manage and distribute them. Although the trustee or executor would have a fiduciary duty to you as a beneficiary, he or she might breach that duty and cheat you out of a portion of your inheritance.
An unscrupulous executor or trustee might misappropriate estate funds and assets for his own use, make decisions promoting his own self interests and neglecting yours, or fail to fully distribute your portion of the estate according to the last wishes of the deceased.
Fight Back If You Have Been Cheated Out of Your Inheritance
You may have recourse under the law if you have been cheated out of your inheritance. Attorney Ido Stern at Stern Zwelling, LLC will be happy to meet with you to discuss your situation and your legal options. He has a successful track record handling a wide range of probate litigation matters. Contact us today to arrange for a consultation.