It is very common for a client to name the lawyer as executor. The executor needs to be a disinterested third party and be at least somewhat familiar with the process. The lawyer meets those criteria and will be happy to do the work, which he gets paid for.
I can't tell you how difficult it is to forge documents. You would need to ask a forger, who is a criminal. I would imagine that it depends on how skilled the forger is...
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The spouse would have to prepare a new will, forge the decedent's signature and find two witnesses to participate in the fraud or forge their signatures as well. If the will is presented for probate, the next of kin will receive notice. Anyone who believes it is a fraud will have the opportunity to contest the validity of the will, which would include having the witnesses to the will testify regarding its execution. So, forging a will is not an easy thing to get away with.
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First off, I'm not sure if it is any harder to forge a will before or after someone dies. That being said, if you are concerned about the validity of a will submitted for probate, you should retain local probate litigation counsel. You will have to contest its validity in the courts. I have great doubt that such a forgery will be easy to get away with. In the case of a will contest, the witnesses to the will are called to testify. If those signatures are forgeries, the witnesses should know.
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This appears to be a variation of a very similar question asked yesterday. The initial question I would have is whether it matters? If all of the assets are titled in joint names between husband and wife or if she is named as beneficiary, then none of the assets would be subject to the terms of a Will, in the first place. This is probably the most common estate plan that married couples use. Even if the Will said that she would get ZERO, she would still get EVERYTHING, in that case. If the assets were not joint, then the wife would still have certain rights and allowances and exemptions under State law that would allow her to take a considerable part of the estate.
What is it that makes "family members" think that the decedent would try to leave a Will that cuts the wife out? That might help us to get a better idea what is going on, here. Otherwise, I would assume that none of the family members would be entitled to anything, Will or otherwise.
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