Elderly financial abuse and fraudulent wills
There are a lot of wonderful people in the community who work hard to help the elderly and ensure they are well taken care of. Sadly however, there are also individuals who will look to take advantage of those more vulnerable to gain financial benefit.
You may have seen in the news how Julie Sayles, from East Yorkshire, was found guilty of fraud when she took almost £300,000 from Mrs Negus, a 102 year old for whom she was caring. Ms Sayles set up a joint bank account with Mrs Negus and then proceeded to transfer £287,688 from Ms Negus’ savings account over a six month period. Ms Sayles then purchased several properties. Not content with this alone, Ms Sayles then wrote herself into a new will leaving the majority of Mrs Negus’ estate to herself and confirming that the sums of money she had received were thank you gifts. Luckily, a watchful neighbour overheard Ms Sayles talking to Mrs Negus about rewriting her will and was able to alert the relevant authorities.
Unfortunately, this type of fraudulent activity is not rare and GA has been instructed on many occasions to investigate whether a will is fraudulent. Fraud can arise in many forms, for example creating a forged will, or deliberately destroying a deceased person’s will and alleging they died without one in place.
Allegations of fraud can also be used in circumstances where you can prove that the deceased’s mind had been “poisoned” against a person who would have otherwise inherited under their will.
Allegations of fraud can be very difficult to prove however and a high degree of evidence is required.
If you are concerned whether a will is valid, or you suspect that someone has acted fraudulently, you need to take urgent, professional advice. There are certain protective steps that can be taken to prevent an estate from being administered to allow time to investigate any allegations of fraud. Speak to our inheritance and trust disputes team to find out more. Call 01752 203500 or email me via anna.wonnacott@GAsolicitors.com.