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How do you handle Fraud in Probate?

Inglewood, CA |

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Attorney Answers 4


  1. My suggestion, based on the limited information, is that you need to get a lawyer. There are many things you will have to prove depending on who you are accusing of fraud. Evidence will have to be gathered. Paper work will have to be prepared that meets certain criteria. Knowing the rules can be tricky.

    The information provided should not be considered legal advice. I am not licensed to practice in any State other than SC. The results of your case will depend on the presentation of evidence, the law and other factors that may change depending on an in depth analysis of the facts of the case. Please see an attorney before making legal decisions.


  2. Fraud in the probate court can be many different things, depending upon who you are alleging has done wrong. Your question doesn't provide much insight into what you allege has happened.

    I was a deputy DA here in southern California for eleven (11) years, with most of that time spent focused on white collar crimes. One of the biggest cases that I ever handled was a fraud conspiracy perpetrated in the probate court in relation to conservatorship cases.

    There may be variety of crimes that have been committed. While I agree that immediately hiring an attorney with knowledge of fraud is a good idea, be careful to select a lawyer who knows about white collar crime. It will not be worthwhile for you to spend money on a civil lawyer if the case should be referred to the law enforcement for investigation and/or prosecution. You don't have to pay law enforcement!

    When I respond to a question posted on Avvo, I provide information for a general purpose. In reviewing my answer, you are specifically warned that your use of, or reliance upon any response that I provide would be a bad idea. I do not have all relevant background or facts related to your matter, and am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon any response by me does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us and does not qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose.


  3. You really need to provide more details. For example, a big area of litigation in probate is a claim that a will was procured by undue influence or procured from a person without the mental capacity to understand what was going on. There are specific rules for this type of conflict. Ditto for other conflicts So, please re-post with more details.


  4. The first step is usually to take a close look at the inventory and appraisal. Executors are required to file an inventory and appraisal of all the assets in an estate after being appointed. It is possible to get an extension but in the vast majority of cases, an extension is not sought, and the inventory is either filed or delinquent. If there are assets that my client is aware of that were not included in the inventory and appraisal, this could be the first sign that the executor is not acting in good faith. I do, however, caution my client that life insurance policies and accounts that have passed by beneficiary designation or right of survivorship will not be located in the inventory and appraisal.
    If the executor has either not filed the inventory and appraisal, or has filed a clearly fraudulent one, it is possible to ask the Court to remove the executor. Frequently, however, it does not get that far. I have had an executor file an amended inventory and appraisal, and cut checks to the other heirs within three days of my first contacting the executor's attorney. An attorney contact does not always produce such dramatic results, but commonly, when the executor discovers that the other heirs have retained their own attorney, he is suddenly much more cooperative about listing and distributing assets in a timely manner.

    The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Howard Roitman, Esq. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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