Contesting a Will based on Fraud

    There are several grounds upon which you can contest a will. One of the grounds is fraud which is often brought together with undue influence. Fraud is defined as a false representation or concealment of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, that is intended to deceive another, and does in fact result in deception. Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed. 1979) at 594. As applied to a will contest fraud may occur if someone makes false representations to a testator (person who drafts the will) or conceals from the testator material facts when in a confidential relationship gives rise to a duty to disclose the facts.

     In order to prove that a fraud has occurred there must be proof of an intent to deceive. For example, in order to prove that false representations were made to a testator in the Estate of Newhall, two of the testator's daughters made false statements about a third daughter and falsely claimed that the third daughter was immoral and had initiated a guardianship proceeding against the testator. The Newhall Court held that it was for the trier of fact to determine whether these misrepresentations had induced the testator to disinherit the third daughter. Estate of Newhall (1923) 190 Cal. 709, 214-231

If you believe someone has been the victim of fraud or undue influence you should consult with a California probate attorney to discuss your options.
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