3 Siblings Made Up a Will after Father Died. What is the Possible Penalty?

Forgery and fraud are crimes–serious crimes, and they carry serious criminal penalties. Lying to the tribunal, by submitting falsified papers, can give rise to civil and criminal contempt charges as well as subject one to fines, and/or incarceration.

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When a person dies without a Will, they are deemed to be “intestate” (without a ‘testament’).  The courts have devised a “scheme” or plan for distribution of the assets of an intestate decedent predicated upon the surviving relatives. This is called the “Intestate Distribution Scheme”: A wife, if she survives the Husband is first to “take” (a legal expression that means when an heir can convey property from the decedent’s estate to the heir’s, with the permission of the Court.).  Wife will get the entire estate, if there are no children.  If children, then Wife gets the first $50,000 and one half of everything else; the children get the remainder of the estate divided equally among them.  The plan goes on: if no children or spouse, then grandparents, then nephews and nieces, and so on. It should be noted that a person must be alive and survive the decedent to be eligible to “take” ; a divorce severs all rights of the ex-spouse to any claim to the estate,

The irony, under the facts your question included, is that the 3 siblings who conspired to forge their father’s Will would, under the intestacy distribution plans, have inherited in equal part the whole of the estate–legally–without risking recriminations. Crime doesn’t pay.  Don’t be tempted.  A Will is an inexpensive way to assure that your wishes for distribution of your property after death are reasonably observed.

Everyone has an “estate”–it may be large or small.  Simplify the life of your survivors by getting a Will done sooner, rather than later. Don’t tempt your children to forge one.  Consult with an attorney about having a Will drafted today!

 

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