For many people in Georgia who are perfectly healthy, it is difficult to imagine that their life could be taken unexpectedly. Unfortunately, death can come at any moment, making the necessity of wills all that much more striking. One out-of-state case involving the death of a mother and a will her sons claim was forged highlights the importance of taking certain precautions during the estate planning process.
The case involves the death of a 55-year-old woman. She was shot to death in 2013 by a man she did not know. The man was reportedly planning to confront the woman's son, who was also shot but ultimately recovered. Soon after her death, the woman's husband presented a will to the court that left all of her assets to him, excluding her sons.
Because the sons and the woman's friends did not believe that she would have excluded her children, the sons challenged the will in court. The judge ultimately ruled that the will was forged. Her two surviving sons -- one passed away in 2015 -- have since filed a civil case accusing their stepfather of fraud, among other allegations. Court documents allegedly include the transcript of a conversation in which one of the sons recorded their step-father admitting that he forged the will. In the recording the stepfather also allegedly reveals that two of his friends notarized the will knowing that it was forged because they owed him a favor.
Most people in Georgia think the best of their loved ones. They assume that close family members will make the right decisions if the unthinkable happens. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The creation of wills can help those in Texas ensure that their wishes are known. By sharing these wishes, including giving copies of their will to relevant parties, people can help circumvent claims that could prevent intended heirs from receiving assets.
Source: wgme.com, "Murdered woman's sons sue stepfather over forged will", Nick McCrea, Oct. 21, 2016