Scotland's courts hearing more cases of family members forging wills to grab cash, assets. SCOTS LAW FIRMS across Scotland may well be in for a mini boom period as the latest growth industry of FORGED WILLS appears to be resulting in record numbers of consultations & follow on litigation in Scotland’s court system, after firms report mounting instances where widowed partners & even parents of deceased love ones have been engaged in elaborate frauds to prevent other family members, relatives & even charities from receiving bequests & legacies left to them.
Speaking to Scottish Law Reporter today, a legal insider has identified numerous cases, ranging from wealthy & famous families battling it out over property & assets to small estates of only a few thousand pounds, where wills have been altered or forged by remaining spouses & ‘principal beneficiaries’ who have become intensely bitter & jealous towards even their remaining family.
He said : “A pattern in many cases is clearly emerging where embittered spouses and even parents have altered or forged the wills & final wishes of their partners or children, simply to grab all the remaining assets for their own use in spite of written wishes dispersing awards & bequests to sons & daughters of deceased partners, other relatives and even charities.”
Many of the cases now floating around in Scotland’s courts, commonly involve allegations of falsified documents, multiple copies of wills where only the one most favourable to an ex partner or principal beneficiary has been used, misappropriation of assets prior to distribution, false information filed with HMRC to avoid paying Inheritance & Capital Gains Tax, and even cases where widowed partners have made fraudulent representations to banks & financial institutions where faked details of wills & assets have been used to obtain large loans.
While many of cases currently in the courts have not yet reached headline material, and may have some time to go before rulings are handed down, a recent case in Scotland’s Court of Session, SHARON McGEEVER(AP) as legal representative of her daughter Sophie Nicol Pursuer; against MAUREEN NICOL Defender: held that a mother had faked the will of her dead son in order to grab a house paid for by her son, so she could keep it for herself and not let it pass onto his child & former partner.
Of the above case, Court insiders have let it be known they were unimpressed with attempts by those who have forged wills to portray themselves as victims or use the ‘little old lady with no knowledge of the law’ syndrome in order to conceal significant financial fraud which in itself may well merit the application of criminal charges.
Cases currently in the courts and those awaiting hearing dates show a wide cross section of wealth, where claims of forged wills forged in residual estates ranging from the millions of pounds relating to sizeable and small residual estates the problem is not limited to Scotland’s wealthiest or most famous families
Scottish Law Reporter has previously covered the McGeever v Nicol case HERE, along with the full Court of Session opinion handed down by J Beckett QC, sitting as a Temporary Judge.