Fraud and forgery

‘Fraud’ occurs when deception, misrepresentation, or dishonesty is deliberately used for personal gain or damage to another individual.

Examples of fraud in the context of wills include:

  • impersonation of the testator by a fraudster to execute the will
  • misleading the testator to sign a will when they believe the document to be another document
  • the destruction of the testator’s will with the intention of gaining from the estate

Forgery occurs when a testator’s will, in its entirety, or the testator’s signature has been written by an imposer posing as the testator.  Usually, the instruction of a specialist handwriting expert will be required to obtain a report as to whether, in their professional opinion, the will and/or the signature is that of the testator’s. However, the court still must consider all evidence and a handwriting expert’s opinion will not always be conclusive.