Robbery and Criminality in Probate Cases
While extremely unsettling, just as in any other theater, there are instances where people try and take full advantage of situations regarding the dispersing of one estate. There are many different ways people may attempt to steal what they are not entitled to. That is why estate planning professionals, such as the probate lawyers from LA Probate Law, make it clear to choose the most level headed, trust worthy individuals for important roles regarding your last will and testament. Executors, fiduciaries, and power of attorney positions afford criminals and easy avenue for fraud and theft. That is why, when selecting individuals for these positions, do not necessarily pick who you like the most or are closest with. Decide who is above reproach and has earned your trust. Someone who you’ve observed to do the right thing, even when they didn’t have to or knew if they did something sinister, they wouldn’t get caught. If you are unsure who to choose, or are convinced that you don’t have someone close to you that has no grudges, has a shady disposition, or just doesn’t deserve one hundred percent of your trust, you can appoint your estate planning counselor or probate lawyer to play these roles. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this cliché couldn’t be more true when regarding this topic because when someone is suspected of stealing, for example the executor of the will, prosecutors are wary of filing charges and following up, believing this to be a family matter. On that same note, many times upset family members are convinced to pursue such matters in civil court. Unfortunately, going to civil court after all assets are gone, doesn’t usually bear many results and leaves the people who feel cheated even more frustrated and angry with the system. This doesn’t mean criminal charges can’t be filed or that you should contact a prosecutor, it just simply means if you find someone beyond reproach, everyone will be much better off in the long run.
Criminals and How They Steal
First of all, people need to be aware that for well over a century, criminal families and criminal entrepreneurs actually have access to a probate and estate robbery handbook. This is something criminals do quite often and many times, once they are caught by the weary family members, it is tough to prosecute because they almost stole the goods legally by convincing the elderly or sick to sign their possessions over to them, or have the victim sign legally binding documents to be implemented upon death. Whether by coercion, bribery, or taking advantage of a diminished mental capacity, once the victim signs their possessions over and then passes away, recourse is sometimes difficult, not that you shouldn’t report such things. Gather any and all evidence and present these things to a prosecutor and/or the police department. Once you prove any sort of fraud and/or deceit, prosecution becomes much more feasible. Protection and awareness are just another way to avoid these situations and you can get this consultation and education when visiting state planning professionals like LA Probate Law.
LA Probate Law also warns that impersonators are another avenue thieves and fraudster use to steal from the unsuspecting, elderly, absent, and deceased. Unfortunately probate administration takes, usually, at least six months. During this time, properties are sometimes left vacant. While the family goes through the process of probate, people sometimes draw up fraudulent papers, or use papers obtained through avenues also known as identity theft. By illegally obtaining papers from trash, stealing mail, or fraudulently creating documents, criminals can convince the Land Registry to transfer the land deed into their name. They then summon a bank in order to borrow great sums of money against the property, and then disappear, never to be seen again. Awareness and an astute defense is the best way to avoid such situations. Since criminals tend to target the weak, if you have an elderly relative, make clear that there are criminals out there and explain the importance of shredding documents, protecting their mail, and to be weary of strangers, especially those coming to their door.
Reporting Fraud and Advocacy Groups
As stated earlier, reporting fraud to the authorities can sometimes prove frustrating because the authorities tend to shy away from these cases, believing they are a family matter and/or should be tried in civil court. These cases involve criminals though, and reporting fraud or theft is necessary, even if it doesn’t seem as if you are getting the help you and your family deserve. Prosecutors and police may begin to see a trend from multiple reports or if you have enough evidence, they will have no choice but to help. If you are working with a probate lawyer, such as the professionals at LA Probate Law, they will also be able to aid in the legalities and uncovering evidence that may help your case. Being a significant and ongoing threat, there are also advocacy groups in existence that aim to help those who fall victim to these crimes. Referred to as inheritance rights advocacy groups, they help those who feel like they aren’t getting any. They pressure politicians and authorities, threatening loss of votes in upcoming elections and use larger numbers of advocates as a tool in this battle. The more you know the better, and there’s no better place to get answers than a profession estate planning firm.
Robbery and Criminality in Probate Cases