One of the most common problems regarding asset distribution after someone dies is probate fraud. Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone dies and involves distributing their assets. Sometimes family members are involved in this type of crime, but sometimes it’s someone on your legal team. Regardless of who is committing these acts, the result can be devastating for the family who has lost a loved one, as well as for them financially.
What happens to an estate after someone dies?
After a person dies, their estate must go through probate in order for the decedent’s debts to be paid and assets distributed among beneficiaries. Unfortunately, because the decedent cannot protect his or her own interests, fraud sometimes occurs during this process. Most people who commit probate fraud have inside information on the decedent’s assets before they died or have special access to certain accounts.
There are many ways that probate fraud can occur. The most common type of fraud is when someone produces a fake will or trust document. Forging the decedent’s name on the document, or creating fake signatures for witnesses or notaries public is a common example of this kind of fraud. In some cases, a person will trick an elderly individual into signing away their property to them for no consideration in return. A common example of this kind of fraud occurs when a caretaker convinces an elderly individual to transfer all of their assets into their sole name so that those assets can be used to pay for the caretaker’s services without having to involve Medicaid or other government agencies.
How can an asset search prevent probate fraud?
Asset searches are a very common tool used by lawyers and investigators to help in probate cases. An asset search may help to identify all assets before probate fraud can be committed. If you are considering an asset search to assist in a probate case, there are many places you should look for assets. The most common type of asset search request is bank accounts, but you should also look at other asset classes like real estate, vehicles, corporations, vessels, etc. By conducting a thorough asset search for your probate case, you can uncover unknown and hidden assets that may help your case or prove that some sort of fraud has already occurred.
While probate fraud might seem unlikely, it can happen. If you’re looking to conduct an asset search for your probate case, make sure to get good legal advice. When choosing your investigator, make sure to learn about their areas of expertise. A good investigator will thoroughly investigate all asset classes and leave no stone unturned in their analysis of assets.
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