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Common Acts of Fraud in Trust or Probate

I’m Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law with offices in Winter Haven and Orlando, Florida.

We handle trust or probate litigation cases across the state and travel to your counties, your courts and to your cities. From Tampa to Daytona, Pensacola to Miami and most locations in between.

Common Acts of Fraud in Trust or Probate

Today, I’m going to talk about some of the most common acts of fraud in trust and probate disputes.

Fraud, in regards to a will or a trust, is defined as deceiving, tricking, coercing, or lying to the grantor to cause them to establish a will or a trust that favors the person that was committing the bad acts.

If you believe a will or a trust was obtained through fraudulent means and you want to pursue litigation you’ll need to move quickly.

Florida Dispute Deadlines

Florida has 20-day, 60-day, and 90-day deadlines for you to file disputes, depending upon if it is a trust or probate dispute. Here are the deadlines to be aware of:

90 Days

You have approximately 90 days after the Notice of Administration has been provided to contest a will.

60 Days

You have even less time to dispute a trust, which allots you as little as 60 days to file a dispute.

20 Days

You may only have 20 days to dispute a will in the event you are served with formal notice of the probate proceeding.

Examples of Fraud

Some examples of fraud in Probate and Trust:

  • Fraud in the Inducement; and
  • Fraud in the Execution

Fraud in the Inducement

Fraud in the inducement occurs when someone convinces a testator or grantor —
through a deception — that something fraudulent is true and that the will or trust, or
provisions thereof resulted from that deception.

In other words, before a will or trust was signed, fraud was used to induce someone into
signing that will or trust.

For example, a family member lies about a beneficiary being a criminal in an attempt to
get more money in a will or a trust for themselves. When in reality, the beneficiary
was not a criminal at all. This belief could cause a testator to distribute assets to the
person committing the fraud more favorably.

Fraud in the Execution

Fraud in the execution occurs when a person misrepresents a document in an attempt
to get a testator or grantor to sign a will or a trust.

For example, someone states that what is in front of the grantor or testator for
a signature is a contract when it is actually the testator’s will or trust — but it’s being hidden so that they will sign without their knowledge.

Trust Your Instincts

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that someone in a decedent’s life committed fraud in order to receive more from a will or a trust than was intended or wanted by a loved one. But filing a Florida will contest or trust dispute under the theory that the will was procured by fraud is the responsible action to take.

Fraud — like any other trust or probate issue — must be handled quickly in Florida. Don’t wait if you’re going to dispute a will or trust. Florida has strict deadlines. If you suspect foul play, act immediately.

Again, I’m Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law in Orlando. If you think someone committed fraud pertaining to a trust or will, give me a call and let’s talk about how Bloodworth Law can help you.

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