What to do if I just found out that my aunt and late uncle allegedly changed my grandparent’s Will and forged their signatures?

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What to do if I just found out that my aunt and late uncle allegedly changed my grandparent’s Will and forged their signatures?

This is after my grandfather was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and my grandmother was incapable of signing anything due to her arthritic hands. My uncle had my blind great aunt sign papers she believed were for insurance after she broke her hip when in reality she was signing over the deed to her house to him. My great aunt was going to leave her house to my mother. My grandfather was originally going to leave his house to my sister. And my uncle was going to get the shop their former cabinet building business was in and some more property. Is there any recourse? What are the steps?

Asked on June 20, 2014 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can bring a legal action against them, as one of the (presmptive or likely) heirs or beneficiaries; if you can show that they forged signatures, lied to (committed fraud against) your grandparents, or exerted "undue influence" (unfair levels of coercion imposed on people who, due to age and/or disability, were not in shape to resist), you may be able to have the will and other transfers of assets set aside. However, the question is, will that actually help you enough to make it worthwhile? Your aunt and uncle are presumbly your grandparent's children; they would inherit before you under, for example, the laws of intestate succession (the rules over who gets what, if there is no valid will). It may be that they will still get most or all of the assets, just possibly in a less tax-advantaged way (for example: the house may be subject to estate or inheritance tax). Therefore, even if what they did is wrong, it may not actually help you to change it. Therefore, since you'd need an attorney's help to do this anyway, before filing any legal action, make sure the attorney advises you as to whether, if you won, it would actually be worthwhile for you.


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